Want to see how things are on a space rock tens of millions of miles away from Earth? NASA has covered you.
Right now, the asteroid close to Earth Determination is about 180 million miles (290 million kilometers) away, and along with it has been named a NASA spacecraft OSIRIS-Rex. The probe will try a tough goal this fall: grab a piece of space rock to bring home to Earth.
So before the big day, OSIRIS-REx is practicing its moves – and the resulting images are just as cool as you’d expect from a piece of machinery that flew just 130 meters (40 meters) over a space rock covered with ruins, according to a statements. That height is equal to standing on the roof of an 11-story building and looking down.
Related: OSIRIS-REx: NASA asteroid sample return mission in photo
But instead of toy cars and ant-like humans, the OSIRIS-REx onboard camera saw only rocks: large rocks and small rocks, sharp rocks and rounded rocks, dark rocks and light rocks. Rocks as far as the mechanical eye can see.
These rocks surround what scientists on the OSIRIS-REx mission have dubbed Place for sampling whistles, inside a crater in the 1,640-meter (500 m) wide northern hemisphere of Bennu. On October 20, OSIRIS-REx will make a similar descent, but will travel 130 meters farther, ready to grab a souvenir from these rocks.
This sample will land here on Earth in September 2023, if all goes according to plan. Scientists will then study the asteroid wreckage for data on the history of the solar system and the role that carbon-rich rocks like Bennu may have played in raising life on Earth.
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