Images from the Rosetta spacecraft show Philae drifting across the surface of its target comet during landing Nov. 12, 2014. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

Philae’s Incredible Comet-Landing Sequence Shows Up In Fresh Rosetta Images

17 Nov , 2014

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Wow! New images released from the Rosetta spacecraft orbiting Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko show the spacecraft coming in for its (first) landing on Wednesday (Nov. 12). “The mosaic comprises a series of images captured by Rosetta’s OSIRIS camera over a 30 minute period spanning the first touchdown,” wrote the European Space Agency in a blog post today (Monday).

This is just the latest in a series of images coming from the orbiting Rosetta spacecraft showing the Philae lander coming in for its rendezvous with 67P. A major next step for the mission will be figuring out where the lander actually came for a rest, but there’s plenty of data from both Rosetta and Philae to comb through for this information, ESA said.

What’s known for sure is Philae made three touchdowns on the comet — making history as humanity’s first soft-lander on such an object — stopping in a shady area that will make recharging its solar panels difficult. The spacecraft is in hibernation as of Friday (Nov. 14) and scientists are really, really hoping it’s able to charge up for another science session soon. Rosetta, meanwhile, is hard at work above and will continue to follow the comet in 2015.

In case you missed it, below are some of the pictures over the last few days that could be used to help pinpoint the landing location.

Source: European Space Agency

A still of the Philae spacecraft bouncing off Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko in an animation of Rosetta spacecraft images. The image was taken Nov. 12, 2014 at 10:35 a.m. EDT (3:35 p.m. UTC). Credit: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM; pre-processed by Mikel Canania

A still of the Philae spacecraft bouncing off Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko in an animation of Rosetta spacecraft images. The image was taken Nov. 12, 2014, at 10:35 a.m. EDT (3:35 p.m. UTC). Credit: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM; pre-processed by Mikel Canania

Our last panorama from Philae?  This image was taken with the CIVA camera; at center Philae has been added to show its orientation on the surface. Credit: ESA

Our last panorama from Philae? This image was taken with the CIVA camera; at center Philae has been added to show its orientation on the surface. Credit: ESA

The animated image below provides strong evidence that Philae touched down for the first time almost precisely where intended. The animation comprises images recorded by Rosetta's navigation camera as the orbiter flew over the (intended) Philae landing site on November 12th. The dark area is probably dust raised by the craft on touchdown. The boulder to the right of the circle is seen in detail in the photo below. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM – CC BY-SA IGO 3.0

The animated image below provides strong evidence that Philae touched down for the first time almost precisely where intended. The animation comprises images recorded by Rosetta’s navigation camera as the orbiter flew over the (intended) Philae landing site on November 12th. The dark area is probably dust raised by the craft on touchdown. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM – CC BY-SA IGO 3.0

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Smokey
Member
Smokey
November 17, 2014 11:12 AM

First: WOW!

B) Imagine if that was an astronaut with some Go-Pros attached bouncing across that surface, instead of a washing machine on stilts. @__@

Green — After following the track in the top image, I have just one question: how in the name of Churi-Guri did Philae end up on the OTHER side of that great big boulder???

Manu
Member
Manu
November 17, 2014 12:04 PM

At the time of that last picture (10′ after initial touchdown) Philae was going up, up and away for its ~2h rebound. It never got close to that boulder.

Gozlemci
Member
November 17, 2014 1:38 PM

The time of the last image on the far right may be later than 15:43…

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