Watch Rosetta flyby an asteroid – from 17:00 BST (18:00 CEST)Posted: July 10, 2010
**Now UPDATED with the first flyby images!**
I found out earlier today that the Rosetta spacecraft is due to flyby the asteroid 21 Luetia today (that’s an artist’s impression of it at the top of this post via the ESA website). There’ll be a live webcast from the main control room as the event unfolds, starting at 18:00 CEST (17:00 BST) on the ESA webpage, followed by the presentation of the first images at 23:00 CEST. The full timeline of the event, along with more information can be found here. Rosetta’s main mission is to explore comets (it even aims to land a probe on one); this encounter is part of its 10 year journey to reach its main objective. This is the largest asteroid ever visited by satellite so fingers crossed for some interesting pictures!
UPDATE: First (pre flyby) images are back from Rosetta:
More at the Rosetta blog
And now the first images of the flyby itself have been released by ESA. Here’s Lutetia with Saturn in the background from 36,000 km away:
the sequence leading up to closest approach:
and a final moody farewell shot from the departing satellite:
All images are from the Rosetta blog.