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Stories, updates, insights, and original analysis from The Planetary Society.

Pretty Pictures: Amazing Asteroid Lutetia

A long-awaited data set is finally public (well, long-awaited by me, at least). The Rosetta team has now published their data from the July 10, 2010 flyby of asteroid (21) Lutetia. This data set is absolutely stunning, and my friends in the amateur image processing community wasted no time in creating art out of it.

Watching Phobos pass by Jupiter

Here is a really cool view of Phobos in the foreground with gigantic (but very distant) Jupiter sitting in the background, a fortuitous alignment that the Mars Express High-Resolution Stereo Camera team took advantage of on June 1.

Place names on Lutetia

Whenever we explore someplace new -- a new island, a new continent, a new cave, a new world -- there's a necessary activity that explorers must perform before they can sensibly tell the world about their discoveries: name things.

Asteroids and comets to scale, including Hartley 2

Just in time for today's Deep Impact press briefing, which you can watch on NASA TV in a few minutes: I've updated my montage of all the asteroids and comets that have been visited and photographed to include Hartley 2.

Color portrait of asteroid 21 Lutetia

Since it doesn't look like the Rosetta mission is going to be releasing any color versions of their Lutetia close-encounter images any time soon, I figured it was time to make one.

Rosetta's Lutetia pictures

I saw these pictures for the first time just 10 minutes before boarding my flight back home, and forced myself to download everything I could find as quickly as possible without pausing to actually look at them.

Lutetia -- and Saturn!!

A quick post of just one of the gorgeous images from Rosetta's flyby of Lutetia today; for more, see the Rosetta Blog. But this one was just too pretty to wait for.

Rosetta's Lutetia navigation campaign complete

Rosetta's most important job over the last few months has been to observe how the position of asteroid (21) Lutetia shifts against the background of fixed (fixed, that is, as far as Rosetta can see) stars.

Three days to Lutetia for Rosetta!

On July 10, 2010, at 15:44:56 UTC, the Rosetta spacecraft will fly within 3,162 kilometers of the largest asteroid yet visited by a spacecraft.

Lutetia in Rosetta's sights

It's unimpressive now, but in a few weeks the pinpoint of light at the center of this photo of a starry sky will loom very large to Rosetta's cameras.

Space is vast. There's a lot of exploring to do.

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