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    Nov. 6, 2018: NASA's OSIRIS-REx orbiter is less than a month from arrival at asteroid Bennu and is now capturing the sharpest images yet of the small world.

    Animated GIF of small, rocky asteroid
    This set of images shows the asteroid Bennu rotating for one full revolution. Credit: NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona

    The spacecraft will arrive in a position 12 miles (20 kilometers) from Bennu on Dec. 3, 2018. It will begin an 18-month survey mission and prepare to collect a sample of surface material to return to Earth. Follow the mission via email updates and on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

    Asteroids are rocky, airless worlds that orbit our Sun, but are too small to be called planets. Tens of thousands of these minor planets are gathered in the main asteroid belt, a vast doughnut-shaped ring between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Asteroids that pass close to Earth—and merit close watch—are called Near-Earth Objects, or NEOs.

    The current known asteroid count is: .

    Go farther. Explore Asteroids In Depth ›

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