Asteroid Steins in 3-D

Sep 02, 2013
Asteroid Steins in 3D
Steins in 3-D. Credit: ESA

(Phys.org) —Five years ago this week, ESA's Rosetta mission flew by asteroid Steins en route to comet Churyumov–Gerasimenko, where it will finally arrive next year after a decade in space.

This image is based on data collected by Rosetta during its closest approach to Steins on 5 September 2008, at a distance of about 800 km of the 5 km-wide diamond-shaped asteroid.

It is best viewed using stereoscopic glasses with red–green or red–blue filters.

Around 40 are seen on the asteroid, including the large 2 km-wide and 300 m-deep crater at the 'top' of Steins, and a chain of several smaller craters that stretch from the asteroid's north pole (bottom in this image) up to the large crater.

Rosetta has since passed by asteroid Lutetia in July 2010 and is now in deep-space . But at the end of January 2014 it will be roused from slumber to prepare for its rendezvous with 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko a few months later.

Rosetta will escort the comet around the Sun, witnessing for the first time how a frozen comet is transformed by the warmth of the Sun.

The mission also includes a lander, Philae, which will settle on the comet's surface in November 2014 in the first landing of its kind.

Comets are considered to be the most primitive building blocks of the Solar System, and likely helped to 'seed' Earth with water, the very ingredient needed for life to flourish.

By studying the nature of the comet's solid and gaseous constituents, Rosetta will help scientists to learn more about the role of comets in the evolution of the Solar System.

Explore further: SDO captures images of two mid-level flares

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Viewing crescent Mars

Oct 02, 2012

(Phys.org)—The sight of the crescent Moon hanging in the sky above Earth is a familiar one, but this image taken by ESA's Rosetta spacecraft as it passed by the Red Planet in February 2007 captures the ...

Rosetta-comet will wake up early

Aug 20, 2013

(Phys.org) —On its way towards the Sun comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko, next year's destination of ESA's spacecraft Rosetta, will start emitting gas and dust earlier than previously expected. The comet's activity ...

Rosetta's final Earth boost

Nov 04, 2009

ESA's comet chaser Rosetta will swing by Earth for the last time on 13 November to pick up energy and begin the final leg of its 10-year journey to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. ESA's European Space Operations ...

Boosting the accuracy of Rosetta's Earth approach

Oct 19, 2007

Yesterday, 18 October at 18:06 CEST, the thrusters of ESA’s comet chaser, Rosetta, were fired in a planned, 42-second trajectory correction manoeuvre designed to 'fine tune' the spacecraft's approach to ...

Mission to land on a comet

Feb 03, 2012

Europe’s Rosetta spacecraft is en route to intercept a comet– and to make history. In 2014, Rosetta will enter orbit around comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenkoand land a probe on it, two firsts.

Recommended for you

SDO captures images of two mid-level flares

Dec 19, 2014

The sun emitted a mid-level flare on Dec. 18, 2014, at 4:58 p.m. EST. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the sun constantly, captured an image of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts ...

Why is Venus so horrible?

Dec 19, 2014

Venus sucks. Seriously, it's the worst. The global temperature is as hot as an oven, the atmospheric pressure is 90 times Earth, and it rains sulfuric acid. Every part of the surface of Venus would kill you ...

Image: Christmas wrapping the Sentinel-3A antenna

Dec 19, 2014

The moment a team of technicians, gowned like hospital surgeons, wraps the Sentinel-3A radar altimeter in multilayer insulation to protect it from the temperature extremes found in Earth orbit.

Video: Flying over Becquerel

Dec 19, 2014

This latest release from the camera on ESA's Mars Express is a simulated flight over the Becquerel crater, showing large-scale deposits of sedimentary material.

Spinning up a dust devil on Mars

Dec 19, 2014

Spinning up a dust devil in the thin air of Mars requires a stronger updraft than is needed to create a similar vortex on Earth, according to research at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH).

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.