In December 2018, NASA’s asteroid probe OSIRIS-REx successfully entered the orbit of the asteroid Bennu. After more than a year of orbiting, Osiris collected a wealth of photo information about Benu and recently released a full-hd image of the asteroid.
The map is a combination of 2,155 photos, so the resolution of the photos is very high, with only 2 inches (5 cm) per pixel, making it the highest-resolution planetary body ever taken by humans. Images used to make maps were captured by OSIRIS-REx between 7 March and 19 April 2019. During this period, the spacecraft flew at altitudes of 1.9 to 3.1 miles (3.1 to 5 km).
After providing such high-definition image information, the team of scientists from Osiris was able to select the safest spacecraft landing site. The team has now selected a crater in the northern part of the asteroid, codenamed Nightingale.
The current plan is to land OSIRIS-REx on the planet for at least five seconds in August, so that the team can collect samples of the planet and send them back to Earth for research. If all goes according to plan, OSIRIS-REx will leave the asteroid Bennu in March 2021 and eventually return to Earth in September 2023.