[meteorite-list] A Fleeting Flyby of a Battered World (Asteroid 21 Lutetia)
From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Tue, 26 Jun 2012 11:14:13 -0700 (PDT)
A fleeting flyby of a battered world
European Space Agency
25 June 2012
The long and tumultuous history of asteroid Lutetia was revealed by
ESA's Rosetta spacecraft as it raced past this large, ancient asteroid.
This spectacular movie shows a sequence of images snapped by Rosetta as
it flew past the main-belt asteroid on 10 July 2010.
The sequence begins nine and a half hours before Rosetta made its
closest pass, when the asteroid still appeared like a distant tumbling
speck seen from a distance of 500 000 km.
Surface features quickly loom into view and the movie concludes six
minutes after closest approach, with Rosetta 6300 km from the asteroid.
A wide variety of impact craters and other features that scar the
surface of Lutetia, all revealed for the first time, provide a window
into the asteroid's geological past.
Perhaps the most prominent feature is a 57 km-wide crater that marks one
of the most dramatic collision events in the asteroid's long history.
Lutetia's oldest craters are estimated to be 3.4 - 3.7 billion years old,
while the youngest regions are just a few tens of millions of years old.
Networks of grooves, fractures and fault lines suggest that seismic
events also played a role in shaping the asteroid's surface.
Lutetia is thought to be a survivor from the very earliest period of
Solar System formation some 4.5 billion years ago, and may even have
tried to grow a metal heart, just like the planets.
The Rosetta spacecraft is now on its way to rendezvous with comet
67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in May 2014. A few months later, its Philae
probe will separate to make the first controlled landing on a comet.
Credits: ESA 2012 MPS for OSIRIS Team
Received on Tue 26 Jun 2012 02:14:13 PM PDT