Rosetta Update Oct. 16 – New Selfie, Landing Site Close-up, More Great Videos

Rosetta’s Philae lander snapped a ‘selfie’ at comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko from a distance of about 9.9 miles from the surface of the comet. The image was taken on October 7 and captures the side of the Rosetta spacecraft and one of Rosetta’s 46-foot-long (14-m) solar wings, with the comet in the background. Click to enlarge. Copyright: ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA

Scope out these new images from the Rosetta probe now less than a month away from dropping the Philae lander onto Comet 67P C-G’s dusty-icy surface. The first picture was taken by the the landers’ Comet Infrared and Visible Analyzer (CIVA) looking out from Rosetta toward the comet. You might remember Philae’s first selfie back on September 7 taken from 31 miles (50 km) away. This new image brings us to within 9.9 miles (16 km) of the comet’s surface.

The photo’s a composite of two images made with two separate exposures to capture the dark comet and Rosetta insulation (one exposure) and the bright solar array. The image is the last from Philae before the lander separates from Rosetta on November 12 and gently floats down to the comet’s surface.

Not only is the comet larger in the new photo but a very distinct jet of gas of vaporizing ice and dust is visible near the junction of the neck and larger lobe.

A new mosaic image from the Rosetta spacecraft shows Philae’s primary landing site up close. Touchdown is expected at 10 a.m. CST on Nov. 12  Click to enlarge. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

A new mosaic image from Rosetta spacecraft shows Site J, the primary landing site on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko for the mission’s Philae lander. Rosetta is the first mission to orbit a comet and to attempt a soft landing on one.

The mosaic comprises two images taken by Rosetta’s OSIRIS narrow-angle camera on Sept. 14, 2014, from a distance of about 19 miles (30 kilometers). The image scale is 1.6 feet (0.5 meters) per pixel. The red ellipse is centered on the landing site and is approximately 1,600 feet (500-m) in diameter or a third of a mile. That’s just a walk around the block!


New video from Mattias Malmer titled “Rising over the edge” – A synthetic 3D view of 67P / Churyumov-Gerasimenko October 8

On November 12, the Rosetta spacecraft will release Philae at 3:03 a.m. Central Standard Time (9:03 a.m. Greenwich Time); 7 hours later it will land at Site J at around 10 a.m. CST (4 p.m. Greenwich).


Cheops Ascent by Mattias Malmer

If you like that video, here’s another in 3D (use red-blue anaglyph glasses to see best). Cheops is the name of the boulder in the photo located on the neck of the comet. It’s about 148-feet (48-m) across. The “synthetic” in the video titles refers to Malmer’s method creating them. He takes real images and digitally drapes them on a model of the comet to create a three-dimensional appearance.

5 Responses

  1. This Rosetta mission is quite the most fantastic thing I’ve been privileged to witness, and most people don’t even know it’s going on.

    The fired it around mars then back around the earth a couple more times to pick up speed, then slung it out to somewhere between the orbits of Mars & Jupiter, put it to sleep and set it’s alarm clock, waited till it woke up and then watched as it chased after a target the size of a mountain in the vastness of the solar system. And it’s all going to plan and giving us our first ever detailed view of what it’s like for a comet to start waking up.

    Astonishing.

    We live in exciting times – roll on next year and (hopefully) more of the same from Pluto.

    Thanks for keeping us all updated on it Bob. Fingers crossed for the touchdown.

    1. astrobob

      Paul,
      I agree. Many are unaware of the mission. That’s why I’m excited to share all the great images through the blog as well as in talks to different groups here in Duluth.

        1. astrobob

          Hi Carol,
          That’s a great link. I remember seeing something like it on ESA back in the winter, but this looks nicer. Thanks!

  2. I’m looking forward to getting my 3D glasses out when I get home. They hurt my eyes but the 3D shots from this mission add a whole new dimension to it all, and I’m sure that video you have up there is worth the eye strain.

Comments are closed.