January 08, 2019
NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft took the picture before going into orbit around asteroid
This Awesome Shot of Earth Was Taken From 70M Miles Away
This image captured on Dec. 19, 2018, by a camera on the Osiris-Rex spacecraft shows the asteroid Bennu, top right, about 27 miles from the spacecraft, and the Earth and Moon, bottom left, more than 70 million miles away. (NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona/Lockheed Martin Space via AP)
An asteroid-circling spacecraft has captured a cool snapshot of home. NASA's Osiris-Rex spacecraft took the picture days before going into orbit around asteroid Bennu on New Year's Eve, the AP reports. The tiny asteroid—barely one-third of a mile across—appears as a big bright blob in the long-exposure photo released last week. Seventy million miles away, Earth appears as a white dot, with the moon an even smaller dot but still clearly visible.
Osiris-Rex is the first spacecraft to orbit such a small celestial body, and from such a close distance—about a mile out. Next year, Osiris-Rex will attempt to gather some samples from the carbon-rich asteroid, for return to Earth in 2023. Osiris-Rex launched from Florida in 2016.
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