If you happen to observe area information in any respect, you might have heard of ‘Bennu’ – the near-Earth asteroid that has a slim (however greater than most) probability of colliding with our planet someday practically 200 years from now. The asteroid is notable for a lot of causes, together with the current discovery that it’s really additionally “lively,” which implies that it’s been spewing mud and gravel into the encompassing area because it steady alongside its path.
That discovery is what prompted NASA to scale back the gap at which its OSIRIS-REx probe orbits the spacefaring rock. The probe arrived at Bennu late final 12 months to look at the asteroid after a range course of decided which of the recognized near-Earth ones could be the perfect candidate for a analysis mission.
NASA’s probe is now simply over three,000 toes above the centre mass of Bennu, which is nearer than your common navy assault helicopters fly at cruising distance above Earth, as NASA helpfully factors out within the illustrative graphic under.
The mission refers to this orbit because the ‘Orbital B’ section, and it’s a report not only for Bennu, but in addition stands because the closes a spacecraft has ever orbited any extraterrestrial physique anyplace within the photo voltaic system. It’ll stay on this orbit till mid-August, and it’ll focus the following few weeks on photographing the asteroid’s floor commonly to check the mud and gravel ejection talked about above.