New Image From Rosetta Spacecraft Shows The Landscape On Comet 67P


Back in March 2004, the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft left Earth, and after ten years, by November 2014, the spaceship met its target Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (67P/C-G).

After more than two years later, Rosetta remained in orbit of this comet, gathering information on its surface, interior, and gas and dust environment.

On September 30th, 2016, Rosetta came closer than ever to the surface of the comet and managed to conclude its mission with a controlled impact on its surface.

Experts have been processing data

Since then, scientists have still been processing all the data provided by the spacecraft during its mission.

This includes some fantastic photos from the comet’s surface that have been obtained shortly after the spacecraft made its encounter with the comet.

UniverseToday reports that the photo was taken on September 22nd, 2014, when Rosetta was at a distance of 28.2 km (17.5 mi) from the center of the comet which is roughly 26.2 km (16.3 mi) from the surface.

“The picture shows a part of the comet’s surface, and it was processed by amateur astronomer Jacint Roger Perez by combining three images taken in different wavelengths by the OSIRIS narrow-angle camera on Rosetta,” the online magazine wrote.

Why is the photo important?

The image is really important because it captured some of the comet’s most prominent surface features.

As the comet was drawn closer to the Sun, its temperature increased, and this triggered an outburst of gas and dust.

This caused a piece of the shelf to break off.

The observations that were made by Rosetta back then not only showed the section where this happened, but it was also able to get a look at the comet’s icy interior.

It basically allowed scientists to make the first definitive link between an outburst and a crumbling cliff face on a comet.

The photo is also significant because it proves the vital role that amateur astronomers are playing in the new era of space exploration.


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