Rosetta Bites The Comet Dust / Aurora V3.0

Landscape on Comet 67P taken from 10 miles (16 km) up late Thursday evening during Rosetta’s free fall . The image measures 2,014 feet (614 meters) across or just under a half-mile. At typical walking speed, you could walk from one side to the other in 10 minutes. This and all the photos below are copyright ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA
Craggy hills meet dust-covered plains in this landscape on Comet 67P taken from 10 miles (16 km) up late Thursday evening during Rosetta’s free fall . The image measures 2,014 feet (614 meters) across or just under a half-mile. At typical walking speed, you could walk from one side to the other in 10 minutes. Click on this and any of the photos to be taken to a site where you can download high resolution versions. This and all the photos below are copyright ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

At 5:19 a.m. Central time this morning, the fabulously successful Rosetta mission to Comet 67P/C-G came to an end. At that time, European mission control heard the last signal from the spacecraft before it crashed down on the comet’s surface. Now settled in for a long, long nap — one that will last an eternity — Rosetta will orbit the sun piggybacked on a 2.5-mile-wide hunk of dirty ice.

Rosetta’s last navigation camera image was taken just after the collision maneuver sequence Thursday evening (CDT) when the probe was 9.56 miles (15.4 km) above the comet’s surface. As in the photo above, much of the landscape is coated in a thick layer of dust that smoothes the comet’s contours.
Rosetta’s last navigation camera image was taken just after the collision maneuver sequence Thursday evening (CDT) when the probe was 9.56 miles (15.4 km) above the comet’s surface. Material released by jets and other processes drifts back down to the comet’s surface and covers large areas in layers of dust.

After a 10-year-long journey to the comet, Rosetta began orbiting the comet in early August 2014. Thanks to the steady stream of data and photos from the probe’s cameras and instruments along with the brief but important contribution from Philae lander, we know so much more about this comet and comets in general than ever before. Rosetta revealed the detailed composition of the comet’s dust, what gases make up its temporary atmosphere called the ‘coma’ and the origins of the geyser-like jets that blast from 67P/C-G’s surface.

As Rosetta continued its descent onto the Ma’at region on the small lobe of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the OSIRIS narrow-angle camera captured this photo from 3.6 miles (5.8 km) up. Boulders, dust-covered terrain and crenulated hills are visible not far from the target impact region, which is located just below the lower edge. The image measures 738 feet (225 meters) across.
As Rosetta continued its descent onto the Ma’at region on the small lobe of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the OSIRIS narrow-angle camera captured this photo from 3.6 miles (5.8 km) up. Boulders, dust-covered terrain and crenulated hills are visible not far from the target impact region, which is located just below the lower edge. The image measures 738 feet (225 meters) across.

All the photos here were taken during the spacecraft’s free fall to the comet’s surface beginning last night and ending this morning. Enjoy the trip down!

Just a little bit lower now. This photo showing dramatic shadows was taken from 3.5 miles (5.7 km) above the surface of the comet at 4:21 a.m. EDT Friday morning September 30.
Dramatic shadows from hilly terrain fall across a rumpled, dusty landscape from 3.5 miles (5.7 km) above the surface of the comet in a photo taken at 3:21 a.m. EDT Friday morning September 30.
Only the shadow knows! Headed for the abyss? This photo was made at 6:14 a.m. from 3/4 mile (1.2 km) high just a few minutes before impact. The scene measures just 108 feet (33 meters) wide.
Only the shadow knows! This photo was made at 5:14 a.m. from an altitude of just 3/4 mile (1.2 km) five minutes before impact. The scene measures just 108 feet (33 meters) wide. You could easily hold some of the smaller boulders in your hand.
This is Rosetta’s final image of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, taken shortly before impact, an estimated 167 feet (51 m) above the surface, similar to looking down from atop a moderately tall building. The image is soft because the Rosetta’s cameras weren’t designed to photograph the comet from this close.
This is Rosetta’s final image of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, taken shortly before impact, an estimated 66 feet (~20 meters) above the surface. The view is similar to looking down from atop a three-story building. Side to side, the photo depicts an area only 7.8 feet (2.4 meters) across. The image is soft because Rosetta’s cameras weren’t designed to photograph the comet from this close.

One final observing alert. Don’t forget to keep watch once again for the aurora borealis. Wednesday night gave a nice show, but last night pooped out. Tonight, minor storms are expected during the early evening hours.