Rosetta Encounters Lutetia

Artist Conception of Rosetta fly by
of Asteroid Lutetia on 10 July 2010

Image Credit: ESA, image by C.Carreau

See the previous post on Rosetta and Lutetia : Rosetta.

At 9:10 AM Phoenix time (16:10 UTC), Rosetta will make its closest approach to Lutetia. It will fly by at a separation of 3,200 kilometres, at a relative speed of 54,000 km/hr. They will be some 454 million km from Earth. Approximately two hours of high quality imaging will be recorded, which will be immediately piped back to Earth. The time of closest approach is currently estimated (8 July) at .

The first images to be received back from the comet-chasing spacecraft Rosetta should occur at 2:00 PM Phoenix time (21:00UTC), when ESA resumes its media coverage (see schedule below). 21-Lutetia is a large main belt asteroid, and you can follow the event live at ESA, beginning at 9:00 AM Phoenix time (16:00 UTC).

The ESA Media Schedule:

  • 09:00:00 Start media event live from ESA/ESOC
  • 09:05:07 Stop – radio communications via high-gain antenna – Loss of signal (earliest)
  • 09:10:07 Closest approach to Lutetia
  • 09:20:07 End asteroid closed-loop tracking
  • 09:45:07 Resume radio communications via high-gain antenna – Acquisition of signal (latest)
  • 09:47:00 Media event pause
  • 11:05:35 Start science data downlink
  • 14:00:00 Resume media event – Science team presents data
  • 14:45:00 End media event

The latest image released by ESA shows Lutetia as seen from Rosetta.

This image was acquired by Rosetta’s OSIRIS imaging system and shows asteroid 21 Lutetia from a distance of 2 million km, rapidly decreasing, and was acquired by the Narrow Angle Camera of OSIRIS on 8 July 2010 at around 6:00 PM Phoenix Time (9 July 2010 – 01:00 UTC).

Loss of signal occurred at 9:06 AM Phoenix time.

Closest approach has now occurred at 9:10 AM.

At 9:20 AM, we are 30 minutes from reacquiring the Rosetta signal.

Below is the latest image from Rosetta at 80,000 km from Lutetia.

At 9:45 AM, we have telemetry from Rosetta. Congratulations.

Telemetry indicates that the Rosetta spacecraft is healthy and performing nominally.

Realtime numbers for Rosetta can be found at Daniel Muller’s web site.

Lutetia from 2 million kilometers

Explanation of the Lutetia Fly – by
Image Credit: ESA TV

Lutetia’s image on the right shows a resolution of about 2 kilometres per pixel, as was taken from about 60-80,000 kilometres. The asteroid is about 130 km by 85 km.

Four hours from now we should get images with a resolution of about 60 metres per pixel.

At this point, the ESA media event has paused. It will resume in about four hours.

We will post images as they become available.

At 10:40 AM Phoenix time, the science download has begun.

Lutetia from 60,000 km.

3 thoughts on “Rosetta Encounters Lutetia

  1. Pingback: European Space Agency looking closely at asteroid – The Associated Press - Most hotest, Most latest Sci/Tech News Online - Top Sci/Tech News Online – Online News 28

  2. Pingback: Images of Lutetia « The National Space Society of Phoenix

  3. Pingback: July 2010 « NSS Phoenix Space News

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