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This mosaic image composed of 12 PolyCam images collected on Dec. 2, 2018, and provided by NASA shows the asteroid Bennu. NASA's first look at a tiny asteroid shows the space rock is more moist and studded with boulders than originally thought. Scientists on Monday, Dec. 10, released the first morsels of data collected since their spacecraft Osiris-Rex hooked up last week with the asteroid Bennu, which is only about three blocks wide and weighs about 80 million tons (73 million metric tons). Bennu regularly crosses Earth's orbit and will come perilously close to Earth in about 150 years. (NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona via AP)

A NASA spacecraft is orbiting a relatively tiny asteroid and setting records

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LAUREL, Md. (AP) — A NASA spacecraft has gone into orbit around an ancient asteroid, setting a pair of records.

The Osiris-Rex spacecraft entered orbit Monday around the asteroid Bennu (above in photo), 70 million miles (110 million kilometers) from Earth. It's the smallest celestial body ever to be orbited by a spacecraft. Bennu is just 1,600 feet (500 meters) across.

The spacecraft's laps are barely a mile (1.6 kilometers) above the asteroid's surface, another record.

Osiris-Rex arrived at Bennu in early December and flew in formation with it until the latest maneuver. The goal is to grab gravel samples in 2020 for return to Earth in 2023.

The New Year's Eve milestone occurred just hours before another NASA explorer, New Horizons, was set to fly past an icy space rock beyond Pluto.

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