After a two-year-long journey, US space agency’s robotic explorer Osiris-Rex successfully arrived at the ancient asteroid Bennu on Monday.

Currently positioned within 12 miles (19 kilometres) of the diamond-shaped space rock, with an estimated diameter of just over 500 meters, the NASA spacecraft will enter the asteroid’s orbit on December 31.

This is the first time a spacecraft orbiting a cosmic object of such a small size, which is located about 122 million kilometres away from Earth.

During the one-year long mission, the spacecraft will collect at least 60 grams (2 ounces) of dust and gravel to bring back to Earth in 2023. The spacecraft, which won’t land on the asteroid, will use the 3-meter mechanical arm to obtain the samples.

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