After a two-year chase, a NASA spacecraft arrived Monday at the ancient asteroid Bennu, its first visitor in billions of years.
The robotic explorer Osiris-Rex, right on cue, pulled within 12 miles (19 kilometers) of the diamond-shaped space rock. It will get even closer in the days ahead and actually go into orbit around Bennu (BEN-oo) on Dec. 31. No spacecraft has ever orbited such a small cosmic body.
Relieved, proud, and anxious to start exploring! https://t.co/uO94qEvEOJ
— Dante Lauretta (@DSLauretta) December 3, 2018
Flight controllers applauded and exchanged high-fives once confirmation came through—exactly one week after NASA landed a spacecraft on Mars.