See a NASA spacecraft from 7 million miles away

A telescope on Earth spots NASA's asteroid-studying spacecraft Osiris-Rex a year after it launched.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
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Colors are inverted to help highlight the spacecraft.

Large Binocular Telescope Observatory

It's tough to spot a tiny spacecraft against the vastness of space, but the Large Binocular Telescope Observatory in Arizona pulled off the feat when it caught sight of NASA's Osiris-Rex. What makes this especially impressive is the asteroid-studying spacecraft launched a year ago and was a whopping 7 million miles (12 million kilometers) away from Earth at the time. 

NASA shared a GIF of Osiris-Rex on Friday made from images captured on Sept. 2. It looks like some sort of weird television static. A red box marks the blurry spacecraft's location. Black and white are reversed to help us see the spacecraft better. It's the first view of Osiris-Rex from Earth since it launched. 

Osiris-Rex is on its way toward us to use the planet's gravitational field to help aim it toward the asteroid Bennu. It's expected to reach its target in 2018, survey the asteroid, retrieve a surface sample and return to Earth in 2023. 

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