Sunday, September 07, 2008

Probe makes almost-perfect asteroid visit

How often do tourists see an exotic foreign locale, set up for the perfect photograph, and curse as their camera malfunctions? It certainly happens (as some witnesses have claimed it does when they think they have a good shot of the Loch Ness monster or sasquatch). ESA's Rosette probe made its first close flyby of an asteroid (known as the Steins asteroid) and, while useful images and other data were gathered, mission managers no doubt let fly with a few multilingual expletives when the high-resolution camera failed at closest approach - only to resume working shortly afterwards. In 2014, the probe will release a lander which will descend to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

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