Then again, maybe Lutetia is, instead, that rarest of "M-type" asteroids, with lots of metals in her surface.
That would make her "a real winner," in the words of ESA's Rosetta Project Scientist Rita Schultz. It would be like discovering the heavyset Plain Jane your folks fixed you up with is heiress to an enormous fortune or something.
This might explain why Rosetta's had its eyes on Lutetia for awhile now, stalking the poor unsuspecting asteroid since the end of May.
"Navigational sightings?" Hah! And the ESA openly admits that once the "date" is underway, Rosetta will be beaming tons of observational data back to earth. In fact, we can all be terrestrial voyeurs and watch the whole thing via Rosetta's blog. "The first pictures will be released later that evening," the press release assures us. Before you know it, Lutetia's likeness will be plastered all over Rosetta's Facebook page, where other asteroids can leave rude comments and make not-so-subtle innuendos.
I think we can all guess how things will end then: Rosetta will keep trying to "collect more data" from Lutetia, but its efforts will be in vain, as the asteroid spins off on her merry way in search of a spacecraft who loves her for herself, and not for her metals - or another rare M-type asteroid more suited to her celestial station. So here's a word of advice to Rosetta: dude, move on to the next asteroid already, or better yet, save yourself for your intended comet. Because Lutetia is a little out of your league. And frankly, she's just not that into you.
Image credit: ESA