Artist's impression of Rosetta asteroid fly-by
ESA's Rosetta spacecraft flew by asteroid (2867) Steins on 5 September 2008 at 20:58 CEST, ground received time (= spacecraft time CEST + 20 minutes), with a closest approach distance of 800 km. Steins is Rosetta's first nominal scientific target. The spacecraft encountered the asteroid in the course of its first incursion into the main asteroid belt located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, while on its way to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The study of asteroids is extremely important because they represent a sample of Solar System material at different stages of evolution – key to understanding the origin of our own planet and of our planetary neighbourhood.
The European Space Agency's (ESA) Rosetta comet chaser is one of the most fascinating projects in space science and exploration. The mission involves flying an orbiter to the comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko, accompanying the comet on its orbit and learning more about it in the process. The highlight will be when the orbiter deploys the DLR lander Philae on the surface of the comet.
Philae was developed and built by an international consortium led by the German Aerospace Center (DLR). The aim of this mission is to conduct a thorough investigation of the comet, which will provide insight into the origins of the Solar System.
Last modified:28/06/2011 09:24:13