NASA OSIRIX-REx Probe Gets Really Close To Asteroid Bennu

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Those interested in the goings on in space will have probably received word about the asteroid Bennu. A NEO or near-Earth object, it has the best chance of colliding with our planet somewhen in the future. Although slim as prospects go, the asteroid takes first place among NEOs, with an opportunity to hit Earth 200 years from now. NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission arrived near asteroid Bennu, and its job is to survey and study the space rock

Asteroid Bennu has sparked interest among scientists, not only due to its course but also for the fact that it is actively releasing dust and gravel from itself into surrounding space. This has forced NASA to alter the orbit of the OSIRIS-REx probe to an alarmingly close distance as to avoid the falling debris.

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx is now orbiting the asteroid Bennu closer than ever, as the US space agency announced recently.

NASA modified OSIRIS-REx orbit to protect the probe from the debris ejected by Asteroid Bennu

A research mission has brought the probe into the asteroid’s orbit in the later part of 2018. Bennu was selected as being a prime NEO candidate for such an observation mission. OSIRIS-REx is currently orbiting at a distance of about 3000 feet above the asteroid surface.
That distance is closer than a military helicopter cruising distance from the surface of the Earth.

This unique orbit has been designated as the Orbital B phase, and it holds the record of the closest orbit ever undertaken by a spacecraft around an extraterrestrial body. The NASA’s OSIRIS-REx probe will maintain its current orbit until August while conducting its mission of photographing and otherwise observing the asteroid Bennu.

Studying Asteroid Bennu is essential for NASA to learn new ways to defend our planet against threatening space rocks that might impact our world in the future.


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