Small Worlds, Big Surprises

Boulders and a thick layer of rocky dust covers the surface of Lutetia

Far from being just a jagged hunk of rock tumbling through space, the asteroid Lutetia – visited by the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft this past July – has been found to be coated with a 2000-foot-thick layer of dust and rocks, visibly softening the edges of craters and ridges on its surface. This layer of pulverized rock and dust is similar to the lunar soil – called regolith –  that covers our own Moon. This is just further proof that asteroids are fascinating worlds in their own right that hold clues to the formation of our solar system! Check out the full story on Universe Today here.

Rosetta is currently on its way to the orbit of Jupiter to rendezvous with comet Churyumov–Gerasimenko in November 2014, when it will actually land on the surface of the comet and study its composition. The video below demonstrates the landing maneuver…via LEGO building blocks!

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No Legos were harmed in the making of this film.

Image credit: ESA 2010 MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/RSSD/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA. Video copyright © Lightcurve Films/Maarten Roos, ESA, DLR, Europlanet, LEGO.