Tag Archives: Rosetta

Comet Lander Site Selection

ESA is huddling today to decide on the landing site on comet P67/CG for the Philae probe. This is such a cool project.

Rosetta has been surveying the comet as it circles in.

The landing site will be announced Monday. A blog posts about this decision process.

Rosetta Maneurvering Up Close

Rosetta is maneuvering and collecting data at comet 67P/CG.  For the first time, we will keep station with a comet.  So cool!

While the science imagers are not releasing data hastily, the navigation camera is giving us gnarly closeups that are plenty good for blogging.

Full-frame NAVCAM image taken on 6 August 2014 from a distance of about 96 km from comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Credits: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM


Lot’s of info at ESA’s web and blogs.

Orbiting a Comet is Cool

As Rosetta closes for its rendezvous with 67P/C-G this week, ESA has an excellent post explaining how to actually do this.

OSIRIS narrow angle camera view of 67P/C-G from a distance of 1000 km on 1 August 2014. Credits: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

Dilettante that I am, I hadn’t actually thought about jsut how tricky it is to enter orbit with a comet–a tiny, fast moving object, especially if you intend to examine it without undue disturbance.  I hadn’t thought about it, but now that I do, I realize that It would not be wise to point the spacecraft engines at the comet, lest you blast away surface deposits a the corona.

The video shows the complex approach planned, sort of spiraling in.


Only a few more days now!


Landing on 67P/CG Will Be A Bit Tricky

As Rosetta closes with 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko it is becoming clear that the comet is not spherical at all.

Use red-green/blue ‘3D’ glasses to enjoy this version of the latest shape model. Credits: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

As ESA points out in their blog, orbiting and especially landing is going to have to be done very carefully.  I’m sure their teams are hard at work already, but they’ll have to await the much better data that will be available soon.

Rosetta Approaching Comet 67P/CG

ESA’s Rosetta explorer is closing in on its destination, the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.  Redezvous is August 9, only a few weeks away.

Earlier this week the team released images which are starting to show the shape of the comet.  In a few days we’ll no doubt have much higher resolution views.

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on 4 July 2014. Credits: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

After meeting and matching orbits, the mission will ride along as the comet swings through the inner solar system, giving us a close up picture of what happens on a comet in such a passage.

Rosetta will drop a lander, called Philae, which will take samples of the surface.  (In the micro gravity of the comet, the terms ‘orbit’ and ‘land’ are so different from our Earth bound intuitions that they are hard to use.)

Wow!  So cool!

Keep up the good work, all.

Rosetta’s target comet, 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, is about 4 km wide. Here it is presented alongside some of Earth’s landmarks. Credt: ESA


Rosetta Check Out Complete, Target in Sight

OK, it’s time to check in on Rosetta again.

This is one of the most exciting space missions in quite a while, and certainly the most interesting this year.  (Sorry, Shibes, this is more interesting than Lunar Iditarod.)

Rosetta is a decade into its mission, and is closing in on the target, the comet, 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (hereinafter, “the comet”).  The flight has been a really cool low energy thing, around and around and out.

In the past two months, the spacecraft has awakened from hibernation and all the instruments have been checked out.  It is an awesome array of sensors, in a tiny package.  Everything seems to be OK.

Lots of details available from the ESA blogs–techno fetishists, have a ball!

I note there was at least one significant software patch–a really, really remote upgrade: 655 millions km. remote!  Phew!  Nice work, all.

The craft is closing in on the comet, which is now in view.  In fact, it is beginning to warm up from the sun.  As the scientists note, this is as close as anyone has ever observed this stage of a comet’s activities.

Things only get cooler from here.  Rosetta will rendezvous with the comet in August–unprecedented.  Then, an even more important first: it will drop a lander to the surface.

If things go as planned, Philae will land on the surface in November, with 11 instruments to take surface and sub-surface samples.  Wow!