NASA released the first images of its OSIRIS REX mission on August 24, 2018. The mission was launched in September 2016 and has since been directed against asteroid Bennu. Now it is in the final phase of the mission, which is due to arrive at the asteroid on 3 December.
The animation below consists of a cropped set of 5 images, obtained by the PolyCam camera on OSIRIS-REx spacecraft over one hour for calibration purposes and to help the mission's navigation team. It captured these images when the spacecraft had already traveled about 1
At that time, the craft was only 1.4 million miles (2.3 million miles) from the asteroid Bennu … and closing.
The coming months will be exciting like OSIRIS-REX – aka Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security -Regolith Explorer – draws closer to its target. OSIRIS-REX is NASA's first mission to visit an asteroid near the ground, examine the surface, collect a sample and deliver it back to earth. The asteroid test is expected to return to Earth via free fall from space until it reaches a height of 33.5 km, when a first parachute will be distributed. At 3.1 km, the main screen light will be released, giving the capsule its precious load from Bennu for a smooth landing in the Utah desert on September 24, 2023.
Thus, the mission will take seven years, from launch to yield return. Dante Lauretta, Chief Inspector of OSIRIS-REX at Arizona University, Tucson, commented:
Now that OSIRIS-REX is close enough to observe Bennu, the mission team will spend the next few months as much as possible about Benny's size, shape, surface properties and surroundings before the spacecraft arrives at the asteroid.
Having spent so much time planning for this moment, I can not wait to see what Bennu reveals to us.
Learn more about OSIRIS-REX's Final Asteroid Bennu Approach
Check out this OSIRIS REX Mission Timeline
Bottom line: NASA released the first image of asteroid Bennu via OSIRIS -REx, the first task of a near asteroid in the earth. Rumer ships arrive at Bennu on December 3rd.