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Rosetta snaps views of asteroid Lutetia
Europe's comet-chasing Rosetta spacecraft flew less than 2,000 miles from asteroid Lutetia Saturday, capturing the first sharp images of the 80-mile-wide object between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.
The closest approach occurred at 1610 GMT (12:10 p.m. EDT), and Rosetta's cameras took about 400 pictures of the asteroid during the flyby.
These pictures were collected by Rosetta's OSIRIS imaging instrument, beginning at a range of 50,000 miles from Lutetia.
The second picture shows Lutetia and Saturn in the image frame, and the third shot shows a pair of images taken less than two minutes before Rosetta's closest approach to the asteroid.
The fourth and fifth pictures are high-resolution snapshots of groove features and a possible landslide and boulder field on Lutetia's surface.
Rosetta kept its scientific instruments pointed at the asteroid throughout the flyby, and the final image shows a crescent Lutetia as the spacecraft flew away at more than 33,000 mph.