NASA’s OSIRIS-REx is coming back from asteroid Bennu with a valuable cargo: samples from an asteroid hundreds-of-millions, if-not-billions-of-years old
It will drop a sample container to Earth on next Sunday, 24 September, and continue on to study another asteroid, Apophis.
ESA’s Optical Ground Station (OGS) telescope in Tenerife spotted OSIRIS-REx on 16 September, when it was 4.66 million km from Earth. This image is a combination of 90 individual images, each 36-second exposures. They have been combined in a way that takes into account the motion of the spacecraft, which is not travelling in a straight line, causing the seemingly stretched background stars to curve and warp.