Scientists Stunned by 'Alfred Hitchcock' Lutetia Asteroid Photograph

Posted on July 16, 2010

Lutetia Alfred Hitchcock Shot


The European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft recently beamed back close-up photographs of asteroid Asteroid 21 Lutetia, which NASA describes as "an ancient, cratered relic from the dawn of the solar system." Scientists were stunned by the images, especially the haunting image above, which has been dubbed the "Alfred Hitchcock" shot. You can see a larger version of the amazing photo here.

laudia Alexander, project scientist for the U.S. Rosetta Project, says in a statement, "I've never seen anything like it. It looked as though it could have been fractured off of a mother asteroid- it was all angles and flat planes, ancient impacts overlaid by newer ones, covered by dust of some kind."

Scientists are trying to determine what caused the large dent in the asteroid. Alexander says, "My first guess would be that it's the remnant of a giant collision that occurred sometime in the distant past. The edges look shallow rather than sharp and deep as might be the case with a fresh crater. I'm sure there will be much more analysis of that feature in the weeks to come."

Lutetia Asteroid


Photos: ESA