FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) -- Scientists at the European Space Agency are preparing for the first fly-by of an asteroid past their deep-space explorer.
The explorer, called Rosetta, is on a mission to solve the birth of the solar system.
It's set to rendezvous with the Steins asteroid just before 3 p.m. Eastern time today some 250 million miles away from Earth. The close encounter will take place at a distance of just less than 500 miles.
The spacecraft was launched in March of 2005.
Rosetta will be taking images and measurements of the irregularly shaped asteroid. The data will be analyzed and unveiled to the world tomorrow.
The project's mission manager says knowledge of asteroids and comets is a "big step" toward understanding the origin of planets.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
To comment, the following rules must be followed:
Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content, but the station is under no legal obligation to do so.
If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.
Multiple violations may result in account suspension.
Decisions to suspend or unsuspend accounts are made by Station Moderators.
Links require admin approval before posting.
Questions may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please provide detailed information.
Viewers with disabilities can get assistance accessing this station's FCC Public Inspection File by contacting the station with the information listed below. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, 888-835-5322 (TTY), or email@example.com.