<p><strong><a id="awu2" title="Asteroid" href="http://science.nationalgeographic.com/science/space/solar-system/asteroids-comets-article.html">Asteroid</a> 21 Lutetia is exposed, craters and all, in a picture captured Saturday by the <a href="http://www.esa.int/export/SPECIALS/Rosetta/SEMMDHO2CBG_0.html">European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft</a>.<a id="gac8" title="A spacecraft's recent close encounter with an asteroid" href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/07/100709-science-space-rosetta-asteroid-flyby-lutetia/"> Rosetta's close encounter with Lutetia</a> revealed a battered world—a possible remnant from the birth of our solar system, astronomers say.</strong></p><p>To snap the above image, Rosetta swooped about 1,965 miles (3,162 kilometers) above Lutetia's surface. The image is the highest-resolution photo taken of the space rock, located more than 270 million miles (440 million kilometers) away from Earth, between <a id="yrhs" title="Mars" href="http://science.nationalgeographic.com/science/space/solar-system/mars-article.html">Mars</a> and <a id="i-1m" title="Jupiter" href="http://science.nationalgeographic.com/science/space/solar-system/jupiter-article.html">Jupiter</a>. (Watch <a id="m-lz" title="a video of Rosetta's flyby." href="http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/07/100712-science-rosetta-lutetia-asteroid-vin-video/">a video of Rosetta's flyby.</a>)</p><p>The sharp edge visible above, at bottom, may be evidence that 81-mile-wide (130-kilometer-wide) Lutetia broke off from a "mother asteroid," said NASA space scientist Claudia Alexander, who led the United States' involvement in the Rosetta mission.</p><p><em>—Andrew Fazekas</em></p>

Close Encounter With Lutetia

Asteroid 21 Lutetia is exposed, craters and all, in a picture captured Saturday by the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft. Rosetta's close encounter with Lutetia revealed a battered world—a possible remnant from the birth of our solar system, astronomers say.

To snap the above image, Rosetta swooped about 1,965 miles (3,162 kilometers) above Lutetia's surface. The image is the highest-resolution photo taken of the space rock, located more than 270 million miles (440 million kilometers) away from Earth, between Mars and Jupiter. (Watch a video of Rosetta's flyby.)

The sharp edge visible above, at bottom, may be evidence that 81-mile-wide (130-kilometer-wide) Lutetia broke off from a "mother asteroid," said NASA space scientist Claudia Alexander, who led the United States' involvement in the Rosetta mission.

—Andrew Fazekas

Image courtesy ESA

Asteroid Pictures: Battered World Found in Lutetia

The Rosetta spacecraft's first pictures of asteroid 21 Lutetia reveal a worn, cratered world perhaps as old as our solar system, astronomers say.

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