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Become a nitrogen atom in the nitrogen cycle in our Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit/Game. See all our games, activity kits and classroom activities.
Asteroid Lutetia as viewed by the Rosetta spacecraft on July 10, 2010.
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Image courtesy of ESA 2010 MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/RSSD/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA.

Rosetta Flyby of Asteroid Lutetia

Rosetta is a European space probe. It was launched in 2004. Its main mission is to fly to a comet and land on it. Along the way it has flown by two asteroids. In July 2010 it flew by an asteroid named Lutetia.

Lutetia is the largest asteroid visited by a spacecraft so far. Rosetta beamed some great pictures of Lutetia back to Earth. In 2008 Rosetta flew by another asteroid named Steins.

Rosetta was zooming along at a speed of 15 km/s (9 miles/sec or more than 33,000 mph) when it passed Lutetia! It flew within 3,160 km (1,964 miles) of the asteroid. Rosetta is now on its way to Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. It won't get there until 2014! If everything works out, Rosetta will be the first spacecraft to land on a comet.

Last modified July 19, 2010 by Randy Russell.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA