“spacecraft engineers are by nature extremely cautious folk..”

asteroid (2867) SteinsThe International Space Station is un-docking it’s dustbin the Jules Verne and it will be dropped into the atmosphere on 29 September when it’s expected to burn up over an unihabited part of the Pacific. Meanwhile, at 7.58pm (local time) tonight, another European Space Agency vehicle, the Rosetta probe, will pass within 802km of asteroid (2867) Steins – an ‘E-type’ asteroid, composed mainly of silicates and basalts [podcast available here]. There’s a Rosetta blog, and tomorrow at 10.55am (local BST) the Rosetta team will hold a press conference which will be streamed live on the internet. Should anyone else be interested in what they’ve seen.. [image credits: ESA, image by C.Carreau] Update A “new jewel in the solar system.”Adds Almost forgot, Cassini’s still taking pictures of its tour of Saturn [which is still a planet – Ed] and its moons – ring arcs included.