After more than two years, NASA’s deep-space probe OSIRIS-REx has finally come within 12 miles of the asteroid Bennu. “We have arrived!” Javi Cerna, the OSIRIS-REx telecom engineer at Lockheed Martin, exclaimed on NASA TV.
With its approach, OSIRIS-REx will now enter the next phase of its mission, mapping the surface of the asteroid in order to figure out the best place to land and snag some of Bunnu’s composite material. The asteroid sample return from Bunnu is exciting to scientists because it offers a rare glimpse of not only how our solar system was born 4.5 billions years ago but also how our planet was created. OSIRIS-REx will return to Earth in 2023.