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Rendezvous in space, Rosetta to meet asteroid Steins


PARIS (BNS): The European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft will make a historic encounter with asteroid (2867) Steins, September 5. This event can be witnessed when the doors of ESA's European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany, will be opened to follow the fly-by events.
The closest approach to Steins is scheduled to take place on September 5, at 20:58 CEST (Central European Summer Time), from a distance of 800 km, during which the spacecraft will not be communicating with Earth. First ground contact with the spacecraft and announcement of successful fly-by will take place at 22:23 CEST.

The spacecraft will have rendezvous with the asteroid in the course of its first incursion into the asteroid belt located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, while on its way to comet 67/P Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The first data and images collected by Rosetta will be sent to Earth throughout the night of September 5 to 6.

The study of asteroids is important as they represent a sample of the Solar System material at different stages of growth. Steins is Rosetta's first nominal scientific target.

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