Zooming in on an asteroid

Approaching asteroid Lutetia

A sequence of images taken by the Rosetta spacecraft as it closed in on the asteroid Lutetia on July 10, 2010.

Europe’s comet-bound spacecraft Rosetta flew past the asteroid Lutetia on July 10, 2010, sending back tremendous images of the 130km-long rocky world.

The European Space Agency has put together this sequence of images (above) to show us what the view was like as Rosetta approached Lutetia. The rotation of the asteroid can be discerned, as can the craters pock-marking its surface.

Rosetta’s closest approach came at a distance of 3,162 kilometres.

Rosetta is on course for a rendezvous with its ultimate target, the comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko, which it will reach in 2014.

For more Rosetta images of Lutetia, see our earlier story, Asteroid fly-by success!

Adapted from information issued by OSIRIS Team MPS / UPD / LAM / IAA / RSSD / INTA / UPM / DASP / IDA.

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