Rosetta’s view of Lutetia, July 2010


This movie shows a sequence of images taken as ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft flew past the main-belt asteroid (21) Lutetia, during the spacecraft’s 10-year journey towards comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

The flyby took place on 10 July 2010, when Rosetta flew past the asteroid at a distance of 3168.2 km and at a relative speed of 15 km/s. The first image shown in the sequence was taken nine and a half hours before closest approach, from a distance of 500 000 km to Lutetia; the last image was taken six minutes after closest approach, at 6300 km from the asteroid.

The OSIRIS camera on board Rosetta has surveyed the part of Lutetia that was visible during the flyby – about half of its entire surface, mostly coinciding with the asteroid’s northern hemisphere. These unique, close-up images have allowed scientists to study the asteroid’s surface morphology, composition and other properties in unprecedented detail.

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