The asteroid orbit OSIRIS-REx has released some of its most detailed images, the asteroid Bennu. And they are breathtaking.
The spacecraft took these pictures on January 17, when it was only six kilometers above Bennu's surface and its NavCam 1 navigation camera was used according to a NASA publication. As the name implies, this camera will be used to track the orbit of OSIRIS REx around Bennu.
Here are the full images showing two views of Bennu's South Pole taken with a shutter speed of 1/700 seconds.
OSIRIS-REx launched in 2016 with the aim of studying and collecting samples from a near-Earth asteroid. The ship arrived in Bennu in early December 2018 and began orbiting Bennu in January. At only about 1,700 feet in diameter, the asteroid is the smallest object ever orbited by a spacecraft. From top to bottom, the asteroid is about the size of the Willis Tower in Chicago or the Freedom Tower in New York.
Circumnavigation of such a small object is a big challenge because the object has only a small gravitational field. The spacecraft uses these images to facilitate the calibration of this difficult orbit.
The Bennu website has many other images that have been updated during the mission. However, these are definitely the clearest pictures.