NASA spacecraft enters orbit around asteroid, sets records

FILE - This file illustration provided by NASA depicts the Osiris-Rex spacecraft at the asteroid Bennu. The Osiris-Rex spacecraft entered orbit Monday, Dec. 31, 2018, around the asteroid Bennu, 70 million miles (110 million kilometers) from Earth. It’s the smallest celestial body ever to be orbited by a spacecraft. Bennu is just 1,600 feet (500 meters) across. (Conceptual Image Lab/Goddard Space Flight Center/NASA via AP, File)
FILE - This May 21, 2016, file photo provided by NASA shows the Osiris-Rex spacecraft inside a servicing facility at Kennedy Space Center in Florida after arriving from Lockheed Martin's facility near Denver. The Osiris-Rex spacecraft entered orbit Monday, Dec. 31, 2018, around the asteroid Bennu, 70 million miles (110 million kilometers) from Earth. It’s the smallest celestial body ever to be orbited by a spacecraft. Bennu is just 1,600 feet (500 meters) across. (Dimitri Gerondidakis/NASA via AP, File)
FILE - This file mosaic image composed of 12 PolyCam images collected on Dec. 2, 2018, and provided by NASA shows the asteroid Bennu. The Osiris-Rex spacecraft entered orbit Monday, Dec. 31, 2018, around the asteroid Bennu, 70 million miles (110 million kilometers) from Earth. It’s the smallest celestial body ever to be orbited by a spacecraft. Bennu is just 1,600 feet (500 meters) across. (NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona via AP, File)

LAUREL, Md. — A NASA spacecraft has gone into orbit around an ancient asteroid, setting a pair of records.

The Osiris-Rex spacecraft entered orbit Monday around the asteroid Bennu, 70 million miles (110 million kilometers) from Earth. It's the smallest celestial body ever to be orbited by a spacecraft. Bennu is just 1,600 feet (500 meters) across.

The spacecraft's laps are barely a mile (1.6 kilometers) above the asteroid's surface, another record.

Osiris-Rex arrived at Bennu in early December and flew in formation with it until the latest maneuver. The goal is to grab gravel samples in 2020 for return to Earth in 2023.

The New Year's Eve milestone occurred just hours before another NASA explorer, New Horizons, was set to fly past an icy space rock beyond Pluto.

Must Read

House Democrat slams GOP chairman over Clinton...

Sep 9, 2016

The top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee says the panel's Republican chairman is...

Arizona governor welcomes Uber fleet of...

Dec 23, 2016

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Friday morning welcomed a fleet of Uber self-driving cars delivered via...

Study: Ad-tech use shines light on fringe, fake...

Dec 29, 2016

The contrast between mainstream and fake or fringe news sites isn't just about the stories and...

Waymo self-driving minivan will start test drives...

Jan 9, 2017

Waymo, Google's self-driving car division, will start testing its new fleet of minivans on public...

Apple proved a phone can change the world in just...

Jan 9, 2017

Few people realized it at the time, but the world shifted fundamentally a decade ago when Steve...

Sign up now!

About Us

In The Headline sought to bring professionalism back into journalism, bringing you only the most exclusive and the most impactive news from all over the globe.

Contact us: sales[at]intheheadline.com