By Taral Wayne: Remember those science fiction movies where a spaceship in the asteroid belt would be pelted by fist-sized rocks and be forced to dodge tumbling boulders ranging in size from VW vans to small states? In reality, spaceships pass through the asteroid belt without seeing so much as as a speck of dust, except by using very long distance cameras. Space is empty, dude! Even the crowded bits are mostly empty vacuum. However, the cameras of the Rosetta spacecraft have caught a very rare bit of footage recently, yet somehow the media has missed it entirely!
Here is footage of a large boulder passing by Comet 67P at the end of July. ESA scientists don’t know how large it is because they can’t estimate its distance accurately. Their guesses put it at between roughly 1 and 50 meters … approximately between 3 and 165 feet. It is too large, and its trajectory obviously rules out the comet as its origin, so it appears to be a genuine piece of the inner edge of the asteroid belt going by. It must be in a similar orbit, as the relative velocities are not high.