What would it look like to approach an asteroid in a spaceship?
In 2010, ESA's robotic
Rosetta spacecraft zipped past the asteroid 21 Lutetia
taking data and snapping images in an effort to better
determine the history of the asteroid and the origin of its
Recently, many images from a camera always facing
the asteroid were compiled into the
Although of unknown composition,
Lutetia is not massive enough for gravity to pull it into a sphere.
The 100-kilometer across
Lutetian is currently the largest asteroid or comet nucleus that
has been visited by a human-launched spacecraft.
Orbiting in the main asteroid belt,
shows itself to be a heavily cratered remnant of the early Solar System.
Now well past Lutetia, the Rosetta spacecraft is
comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko where a landing is planned for 2014.