September 9th, 2008

lolcat: science

Rosetta encounters a diamond in the sky.

Rosetta, the spacecraft that's currently on its way to Comet 67P-Churyumov-Gerasimenko, got to test its flyby capabilities on Asteroid Steins last week. It awoke out of hibernation and its tracking systems allowed it to follow Steins throughout closest approach (800 km) as it went screaming past at 31000 km/h.

Steins Mosaic


A fantastic animation of the encounter images from the wide-angle camera can be found on the ESA web site here. If you're geeky enough to have a pair of 3D glasses handy, check out Steins in 3D there too.

(Imperial is responsible for the Rosetta Plasma Consortium, and our own magnetometer laboratory provided the Plasma Interface Unit (PIU) for the spacecraft. The PIU allows five sensors, including the magnetometer of course, to share data and power resources.)