Mark Aston

Mark Aston has served as a Science & Technology consultant for GWR since 2010. He brings nearly 30 years of experience of high-technology science and engineering to ensure GWR’s sci-tech records are accurate and informative. Mark’s involvement in both academia and commercial companies has led to a lively career in optics development.

Closest orbit of an asteroid

At 19:44 UTC on 31 December 2018, the NASA spacecraft OSIRIS-REx made a 6 cm/s insertion burn that placed it into orbit around the small asteroid 101955 Bennu. Its slightly elliptical initial orbit has a semi-major axis of 1,820 metres (5,971 feet), bringing the probe within 1,600 metres (5,249 feet) of the asteroid’s centre – around 1,350 metres (4,429 feet) from its surface – at its closest point.