Rosetta at 21 Lutetia

The Rosetta spacecraft has returned the first images from its flyby of the asteroid 21 Lutetia. The image on the right was taken while the spacecraft was approximately 80,000 kilometers away and it shows a lumpy, cratered world. Lutetia is approximately 100 km in diameter. It is the largest asteroid yet visited by a spacecraft. More images can seen on the Rosetta Blog, and more images will be released later today.

Rosetta is an ESA mission on its way to orbit and deploy a lander on a comet in 2014. The spacecraft took images of another asteroid – 2867 Šteins – in 2008.