Home / Science / The spacecraft of NASA is orbiting an asteroid closer than ever before

The spacecraft of NASA is orbiting an asteroid closer than ever before

Following a maneuver, the spacecraft orbited a planetary body closer than any other spacecraft in the NASA asteroid mission mission, space agency said.

The mission has recently entered a new phase in which the spacecraft orbits about 2231 feet (0.4 miles) above the surface of the Bennu asteroid and maps the object to determine where the spacecraft is located best sampling site is located on Bennus surface, NASA said in a statement released on Thursday.

She will remain near the asteroid until the second week of August.

The spacecraft broke its previous record lying about 4,224 feet or 0.8 miles from Bennu Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security Regolith Explorer is NASA's first asteroid sample repatriation mission.

It's on a seven-year mission. The spacecraft, which was launched in September 201

6, arrived in Bennu in December 2018. It will survey and map Bennu, navigate in the immediate vicinity of the asteroid, and then touch the surface for five seconds to take a sample, according to the mission's website. 19659009] Spacecraft makes & # 39; unexpectedly & # 39; Discoveries about asteroids Bennu "src-mini =" // cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/190307043743-0307-asteroids-01-small-169.jpg "src-xsmall =" // cdn.cnn.com /cnnnext/dam/assets/190307043743-0307-asteroids-01-medium-plus-169.jpg "src-small =" http://cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/190307043743-0307-asteroids- 01-large-169.jpg "src-medium =" // cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/190307043743-0307-asteroids-01-exlarge-169.jpg "src-large =" // cdn. cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/190307043743-0307-asteroids-01-super-169.jpg "src-full16x9 =" // cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/190307043743-0307-asteroids-01 -full-169.jpg "src-mini1x1 =" // cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/190307043743-0307-asteroids-01-small-11.jpg "data-demand-load =" not-loaded "data-eq-pts =" mini: 0, xsmall: 221, small: 308, medium: 461, large: 781 "/>

"This sample of a primitive asteroid becomes a scientist help understand the formation of the solar system over 4.5 billion years ago, "NASA said.

Bennu is a near-Earth asteroid that could pass closer to our planet in 2135 than the Moon, with closer approximations being possible in 2175 and 2195.

Although the likelihood of Bennu hitting Earth directly is unlikely, information from OSIRIS is available -REx can help scientists understand how near-Earth asteroids can be distracted.

Scientists have already made unexpected observations. They have discovered particles that bounce off the surface. This discovery means that Bennu is a rare, active asteroid that regularly hurls material into space.

The spaceship is expected to return to Earth in September 2023.

Ashley Strickland of CNN contributed to this report.

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