UPDATE July 10, 2 pm ET : Space Probe has zipped by space rock and has already beamed back images to Earth. First closeups of asteroid Lutetia will be released shortly after 5 pm Eastern Time. Watch here for LIVE web conference where scientists will show off those first photos.
Rosetta comet-chasing probe is expected to pass the asteroid Lutetia at a relative speed of 54 000 km/hr, when both are located some 454 million km from Earth int he asteroid belt. As 100 km wide Lutetia is a major scientific target of Rosetta’s mission, most of the orbiter and lander instruments will be on for flyby, studying the asteroid’s surface, dust environment, exosphere, magnetic field, mass and density.
Rosetta is perfectly lined up to skim by at 3162 km at (12:10 pm Eastern Time (18:10 CEST). Watch live web streaming video as it happens, along with mission control press conferences with the latest images begin beamed back from the spacecraft. Read my National Geographic story about the mission.
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