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Mass Media invitation

on 10 July 2010

Rosetta overflight of the Lutetia asteroid on 10 July 2010.

Media is invited to the Space Operations Centre of the European Space Agency in Darmstadt, Germany, to track the Lutetia asteroid overflights by Rosetta spacecraft on 10 July from 18: 00-23: 00 local time. First images of the asteroid will be released at midnight, experts being available for interviews.

 Rosetta is on the way for its principal destination, comet 67P / Churyumov-Gerasimenko, where il will arrive in 2014. On Saturday, 10 July 2010, the spacecraft will overfly Lutetia asteroid, and this is the first time the asteroid in question is visited by a robotic messenger of humanity.

This is a very important step for Rosetta mission - which started in 2004 - and it marks a rare opportunity to observe a primitive body like this asteroid.

Asteroid Lutetia is the second studied during the Rosetta mission, and on 5 September 2008 it passed at 800 km of asteroid Steins. This time, Rosetta will approach 3200 km of Lutetia asteroid, given its larger size and the need to fully include it in the vision field. The survey should provide two hours of observations, the spacecraft immediately transmitting images to Earth, which will be released in the same evening.

After "meeting" with Lutetia, the next Rosetta scientific activities will be observing its final destination, the comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko starting May 2014 for 18 months and landing a mini-probe in November 2014.

The Rosetta mission and the study of Lutetia and Steins asteroids, as the comet 67P / Churyumov-Gerasimenko, are important in the context of planetary defense against potential cosmic nature disasters that can be caused by bodies NEO (Near-Earth Objects), and to elucidate the mysteries of our solar system formation.

More details about the mission and about media credentials are available at: