An 80 Mile Long, 4.5 Billion Year Old Asteroid Gets Its Close Up

Illustration for article titled An 80 Mile Long, 4.5 Billion Year Old Asteroid Gets Its Close Up

This is an up close picture of Lutetia, an asteroid that hangs out somewhere between Mars and Jupiter. It's the largest asteroid ever visited by a satellite.

The European Space Agency's Rosetta mission came within 2,000 miles of the asteroid and was able to capture images of Lutetia by using an OSIRIS (Optical, Spectroscopic, and Infrared Remote Imaging System) camera. The closest images got down to less than 200 feet in resolution. It's amazing how peaceful the asteroid looks, lumpy craters and all. Then you remember things like this can destroy planets.

Rosetta actually has bigger plans than the Lutetia, with its end destination being the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. We can't wait to see those pictures. [Wired]

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DISCUSSION

lorddata---old1
Lord_Data ∞

It's amazing that we can do this.

Think about it, to purify and combine raw materials at accuracies far greater than the human hand is capable of, Controlling the release of forces specifically enough to launch an object into the heavens, with a trajectory capable of bringing it to an exact position in space, where a device using substances that don't occur naturally to preserve an exact two dimensional image of an object we can't even perceive from the ground, then convert said image into pulses of light imperceptible to the human eye, yet capable of conveying the information in a recognizable way across a void so vast that we lack the capability to process its size, where it is then composed back into an image using technology capable of harnessing the movement of individual electrons. An image created by bathing the eyes of viewers with millions of tiny beams of light simultaneously, in such a way as to form a discrete picture.

Ah, Science.