Arthur C. Clarke’s 1973’s Rendezvous with Rama is a first-contact science fiction novel.
In the early 22nd century the Spaceguard warning system detects an asteroid-sized body passing through the Solar System. Although the object will not come near Earth and thus falls outside Spaceguard’s main mission, the body has a number of unusual characteristics that warrant investigation: the object is of extrasolar origin and will exit the Solar System once it passes the Sun; it appears to have smooth surface and a rotation period measured in minutes. It cannot be a comet. A closer look by a space probe reveals that it is an alien space craft. It is dubbed “Rama.”
Only one crewed spacecraft is in the right orbit with enough fuel reserves to match course with Rama: Commander Norton’s Endeavour.