A mosaic of asteroid Bennu, as seen by the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. Credit: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona.​

This mosaic, compiled by NASA from 2,155 images taken by the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft last spring, reveals the surface of the asteroid Bennu as never seen before.


The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft launched on 8 September 2016 on its journey to near-Earth asteroid Bennu, where it will collect a sample before returning to Earth in 2023.

Back on Earth, scientists will be able to study the asteroid sample and learn more about the conditions of the early Solar System.

OSIRIS-REx passed just 3–5km above the asteroid’s surface to capture these detailed pictures bewteen 7 March and 19 April 2019.

Bennu, dubbed a 'Doomsday asteroid' by some, is on both NASA’s and ESA’s risk lists, with a 1-in-2,700 chance of striking Earth in the late 22nd century.

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Observatory OSIRIS-REx spacecraft

Image release date 19 March 2020


Credit NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona.


Jane Williamson science journalist and writer
Jane WilliamsonScience journalist

Jane Williamson is BBC Sky at Night Magazine's Production Editor.