Images from Rosetta reveal a spooky and rugged landscape

June 4, 2015
IE

History was made when the European Space Agency deployed the Philae lander to the surface of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and now seven months later they have revealed an extensive set of photographs from Rosetta that give us an insight into the spooky and rugged landscape of the comet.

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[Image Courtesy of ESA]

The photos were taken by the NavCam of the spacecraft between September and November of last year when the craft went as close as 8km from the comet’s surface. A total of 1,776 photos were taken and the lander plunged down towards the surface of the comet and during the days after.

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[Image Source: ESA]

Flybys have revealed images of the Imhotep region taken in February when the spacecraft came within just 6km of the surface and these showed large rocks along with jagged eerie landscapes jutting out from the surface. The surface was also covered with dust on the flatter regions.

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[Image Source: ESA]

The new and astonishing set of photographs reveal the terrain from many different angles. It shows cliff edges that are harsh and which cut deep into the blackness of the space surrounding it. There are large boulders along with rocky hillsides that spread out into smoother dusty plains. The images of the alien landscape many miles away are spooky in black and white.

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[Image Source: ESA]

The Rosetta departed in 2004 and went into orbit of the 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in August of last year. It made three flybys of Earth along with one of Mars and then headed towards Jupiter and picked up enough speed for it to catch the comet. The Philae lander made history when it became the first spacecraft to make a soft landing on the surface of the comet.

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[Image Source: ESA]

A malfunction on landing caused the probe to land where sunlight could not reach the solar panels and this means that the spacecraft along with mission control were left in the dark when its battery was exhausted. While all attempts to re-establish contact with it have not been successful, the ESA believe that once it comes closer to the Sun it should begin to draw in solar power and be able to boot again. It should then be able to continue on exploring the comet and its surface.

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[Image Source: ESA]