The European Space Agency has released the first close-ups of the asteroid Lutetia snapped by the Rosetta mission over the weekend, revealing that the mysterious asteroid has taken quite a beating over the years. And by years, we mean something like 4.5 billion. As suspected, it turns out that Lutetia is probably very, very old.
ESA's Rosetta mission got a quite a view of Lutetia as it passed within 1,965 miles of it while en route to its final destination, the comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
The European Space Agency's Rosetta mission is poised for a flyby of asteroid 21 Lutetia, the largest asteroid to ever be visited by a spacecraft. On Saturday, July 10, Rosetta will skim past Lutetia at a speed of about 33,000 miles per hour, coming to within 1,965 miles of the asteroid.