PARIS, July 10 (UPI) — The Rosetta space probe, launched by the European Space Agency, got close enough to the asteroid Lutetia to get some good snapshots.
High-resolution pictures captured as Rosetta flew within 1,900 miles showed the asteroid has had a violent history since it is covered by craters from encounters with other space objects, The Daily Telegraph reported. Lutetia, with a diameter of 83 miles, is the largest asteroid to be visited by a space probe so far.
Scientists hope Rosetta’s instruments will provide the data they need to determine Lutetia’s composition.
“Rosetta will be using its suite of instruments to study Lutetia in amazing detail, producing stunning images of a surface battered and cratered since the dawn of time,” said Dan Andrews, a scientist with The Open University.
Rosetta is on a 10-year mission with the ultimate goal in 2014 of a close encounter with the comet known as 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Earlier, the probe got within 500 miles of another asteroid, Steins, which is only 3 miles in diameter.
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