Global One (G1)— While people on Earth were getting ready to celebrate the New Year on Dec. 31, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft was getting ready to break records.
The spacecraft was able to successfully orbit the asteroid Bennu, which means it’s now a record holder twice over.
Since Bennu is so small — only 1,600 feet in diameter — it’s the smallest object ever to be successfully orbited.
Additionally, OSIRIS-REx was able to make a close orbit of less than a mile — another record.
A member of NASA’s OSIRIS-REx team said, “Entering orbit around Bennu is an amazing accomplishment that our team has been planning for years.”
The spacecraft was launched in 2016 and plans to take samples from the asteroid and send them back to Earth.
In 2020, the team hopes to land the spacecraft on the asteroid to collect the samples.
If all goes according to plan, OSIRIS-REx will deliver its results to Earth in 2023.