This is an Asteroid Photographed from 0.4 Miles Away

After photographing Earth and the Moon from 71 million miles away back in January, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is back again with a new photo of its target asteroid, Bennu, shot from an incredibly close distance of just 0.4 miles (690m) away.

OSIRIS-REx captured the shot with NavCam 1 (one of its 3 navigation cameras) on June 13th after executing its second orbital insertion maneuver around the asteroid, which measures about 0.306 miles across (492m) on average.

“From the spacecraft’s vantage point in orbit, half of Bennu is sunlit and half is in shadow,” the mission team writes. “Bennu’s largest boulder can also be seen protruding from the southern hemisphere. […] At this distance, details as small as 1.6 ft (0.5 m) across can be resolved in the center of the image.”

The OSIRIS-REx photo from January showing the asteroid (upper right) from 27 miles and Earth and the Moon (left middle) from 71 million miles.

In addition to shooting photos and mapping out Bennu surface, OSIRIS-REx is also working to obtain a sample of the asteroid and return it to Earth in 2023.

(via OSIRIS-REx via The Verge)