Asteroid Steins Flyby

Asteroid Steins Asteroid Steins seen from a distance of around 800 km by Rosetta. This tiny asteroid is only around 5 km at it’s largest dimension with a crater on the top right that is approximately 1.5-km in size. That is a large impact for such a tiny body, but we have seen small bodies survive such large impacts before (Phobos, moon of Mars for instance). It seems like a pretty typical asteroid thus far and joins the growing family of such bodies visited by we humans. As a matter of fact, if I didn’t know where this came from — I would have assumed it was just another tiny moonlet imaged by Cassini in orbit around Saturn.

See the flyby animation on the official ESA Rosetta site. For those keeping score… the next major encounter in our Solar System is in just about a month with another Messenger visit to Mercury.