LAUREL, Md. — A NASA spacecraft has gone into orbit round an historical asteroid, setting a pair of data.
The Osiris-Rex spacecraft entered orbit Monday across the asteroid Bennu, 70 million miles (110 million kilometers) from Earth. It’s the smallest celestial physique ever to be orbited by a spacecraft. Bennu is simply 1,600 ft (500 meters) throughout.
The spacecraft’s laps are barely a mile (1.6 kilometers) above the asteroid’s floor, one other report.
Osiris-Rex arrived at Bennu in early December and flew in formation with it till the newest maneuver. The purpose is to seize gravel samples in 2020 for return to Earth in 2023.
The New Yr’s Eve milestone occurred simply hours earlier than one other NASA explorer, New Horizons, was set to fly previous an icy area rock past Pluto.