Rosetta spacecraft meets asteroid Steins

Aug 25, 2008
On its way to comet 67/P Churyumov-Gerasimenko, Rosetta is targeting two asteroids for study: (2867) Steins, on 5 September 2008, and (21) Lutetia on 10 June 2010. Credits: ESA TV

ESA's Rosetta spacecraft will make a historic encounter with asteroid (2867) Steins on 5 September 2008.

First images and results will be available during a press conference which will be held at ESOC the following day, Saturday 6 September at 12:00 CEST.

Steins is Rosetta’s first nominal scientific target. The spacecraft will rendezvous with the asteroid in the course of its first incursion into the asteroid belt located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, while on its way to comet 67/P Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

The study of asteroids is extremely important as 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 closest approach to Steins is due to take place on 5 September at 20:58 CEST (Central European Summer Time), from a distance of 800 km, during which the spacecraft will not be communicating with Earth.

First ground contact with the spacecraft and announcement of successful fly-by will take place at 22:23 CEST. The first data and images collected by Rosetta will be sent to Earth throughout the night of 5 to 6 September and will undergo preliminary processing in the morning of 6 September.

Provided by ESA

Explore further: Start of dwarf planet mission delayed after small mix-up

Related Stories

Dawn spacecraft begins new Vesta mapping orbit

Oct 03, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's Dawn spacecraft has completed a gentle spiral into its new science orbit for an even closer view of the giant asteroid Vesta. Dawn began sending science data on Sept. 29 from this new ...

Rosetta lines up for spectacular asteroid flyby

Jul 08, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- On 10 July, ESA's Rosetta will fly past 21 Lutetia, the largest asteroid ever visited by a satellite. After weeks of manoeuvres and a challenging optical navigation campaign, Rosetta is perfectly ...

Perfect sight: Rosetta cameras track asteroid target

Aug 18, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- On 14 August, Rosetta conducted a successful trajectory correction manoeuvre using data obtained from the Agency's first-ever optical tracking of an asteroid target, (2867) Steins. Images ...

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 ...

SMART-1 impacts Moon (Update 2)

Sep 03, 2006

At 07:42:22 CEST (05:42:22 UT) today, the SMART-1 spacecraft impacted the Moon's surface as planned, ending ESA's first solar-powered mission to another celestial body and Europe's first mission to the Moon. ...

Recommended for you

Can sound help us detect 'earthquakes' on Venus?

Apr 23, 2015

Detecting an "earthquake" on Venus would seem to be an impossible task. The planet's surface is a hostile zone of crushing pressure and scorching temperatures—about 874 degrees F, hot enough to melt lead—that ...

Titan's atmosphere useful in study of hazy exoplanets

Apr 23, 2015

With more than a thousand confirmed planets outside of our solar system, astronomers are attempting to identify the atmospheres of these distant bodies to determine if they could possibly host life.

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.