This is an image of the asteroid Bennu, its first portrait taken by NASA’s Osiris-Rex mission when it finally reached its destination in October after a travelling towards it since September, 2016.
The picture was captured at a distance of just 770 kilometres away from the 4.5 billion-year-old asteroid, which is one of an estimated 7000 classified as Near Earth Objects. The asteroid’s average orbital distance from the sun is just 168 million kilometres.
To capture the image, PolyCam, one of three cameras on board Osiris-Rex was activated.
The asteroid occupied around 50 pixels of the camera’s field of vision. Each pixel here represents approximately 10 metres of rock.
Read science facts, not fiction...
There’s never been a more important time to explain the facts, cherish evidence-based knowledge and to showcase the latest scientific, technological and engineering breakthroughs. Cosmos is published by The Royal Institution of Australia, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the world of science. Financial contributions, however big or small, help us provide access to trusted science information at a time when the world needs it most. Please support us by making a donation or purchasing a subscription today.