Thursday, September 11, 2008

European 'Rosetta' space probe explores distant asteroid

The European Space Agency's Rosetta space probe just completed a flyby of a mysterious asteroid, reports Reuters. Scientists hope to learn why the asteroid (which is about 2.9 miles across and about 224 million miles from earth) shines so brightly in the night sky.

Images relayed to European space command (see photo, courtesy ESA) from Rosetta show one haggard rock. The asteroid is pock marked with craters, including a massive 1.2-mile wound.

By studying asteroids, scientists hope to better protect the Earth from strikes in the future and better understand the origins of our solar system.

Rosetta's primary mission is to study Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. To do so, the probe will release a small craft that will attempt the first controlled landing on a comet. The rendezvous is scheduled for 2014.

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.