Skip to main content

Asteroid Lutetia Up Close: Flyby Photos From Rosetta Probe

Peek at Huge Asteroid Provides More Questions Than Answers

ESA

The European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft took this image of the asteroid Lutetia during a flyby on July 10, 2010.

Asteroid Lutetia Up Close

ESA

This enlarged view of photo of the asteroid Lutetia is one of the closest views ever of the asteroid. It was taken by Europe's comet probe Rosetta from 80,000 km away during a July 10, 2010 flyby.

Battered Asteroid a Survivor From Solar System's Birth

ESA

The asteroid Lutetia at closest approach as seen by Europe's Rosetta spacecraft in July 2010. [Full Story]

Inner Solar System Evolution

ESO/L. Calçada and N. Risinger (skysurvey.org)

This artist’s impression shows the development of the inner solar system over nearly five billion years. Top: the earliest stage, where the debris disc around the sun was composed of gas and tiny particles. Second panel: the particles have formed large clumps, similar to the asteroid Lutetia. Third panel: These bodies in turn formed the rocky planets, including Earth. Fourth panel: Earth's surface evolved into what we recognize today, after four billion years of meteor bombardment.

Landslide on Lutetia?

ESA 2010 MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/RSSD/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

This image from the European Rosetta spacecraft zooms in on a possible landslide on the asteroid Lutetia, revealing boulders and other surface features seen during a July 10, 2010 flyby of the asteroid.

Asteroid Lutetia: Target in Sight

ESA 2010 MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/RSSD/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

These photos show several images of asteroid Lutetia as the Rosetta spacecraft closed in on July 10, 2010 during a flyby. The first image was taken about 9.5 hours before closest approach, 510,000 kilometers from the asteroid, the last one about 1.5 hours before closest approach, 81,000 km from the asteroid. The resolution changes from 9.6 km per pixel to 1.5 km per pixel.

Asteroid Lutetia in Four Parts

ESA 2010 MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/RSSD/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

These four images show the final sequence of images taken by the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft on July 10, 2010 during its flyby of the asteroid.

Saturn and Lutetia

ESA 2010 MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/RSSD/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

At a distance of 36000 km the OSIRIS Narrow Angle Camera (NAC) on ESA's Rosetta spacecraft took this image of the asteroid Lutetia on July 10, 2010, catching the planet Saturn in the background.

Lutetia Unmasked

ESA

This photo of the asteroid Lutetia is one of the closest views ever of the asteroid. It was taken from a distance of about 80,000 km during a July 10, 2010 flyby by Europe's comet probe Rosetta.

Asteroid Lutetia Seen by OSIRIS July 2010 2

© ESA 2010 MPS/OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/RSSD/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

OSIRIS clear filter image taken during the flyby of the Rosetta spacecraft at asteroid Lutetia on July 10, 2010.

Comparative Sizes of Eight Asteroids

NASA/JPL-Caltech/JAXA/ESA

This composite image shows the comparative sizes of eight asteroids. Until now, Lutetia, with a diameter of 81 miles (130 kilometers), was the largest asteroid visited by a spacecraft, which occurred during a flyby. Vesta, which is also considered a protoplanet because it's a large body that almost became a planet, dwarfs all other small bodies in this image, with diameter of approximately 330 miles (530 km).

Have a news tip, correction or comment? Let us know at community@space.com.