Stunning Rosetta Images Reveal Sand Dunes on Comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko

Tuesday, 21 October 2014 - 10:43AM
NASA
Philae/Rosetta
Space Imagery
Tuesday, 21 October 2014 - 10:43AM
Stunning Rosetta Images Reveal Sand Dunes on Comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko

It's a large icy lump of rock that has spent millions of years hurtling through the vacuum of space, so you can imagine the surprise on the faces of ESA researchers when they discovered Comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko possessed what appeared to be sand dunes. Of course, it's not sand as we know it, but instead dust that is almost inexplicably collecting on the comet's surface.

 

(Credit: ESA)

 

 

 

 

The images above were taken on October 18th with Rosetta approximately 8km away from Comet 67P, and the presence of those dusty dunes will be the focus of a great deal of study on the part of Rosetta's science team. However, most of ESA's energies will be fully focused on the events leading up to November 12th, when the Rosetta team will attempt the first soft-landing on a comet in human history.

 

Last week, the landing site for Rosetta's Philae lander was officially confirmed. Currently known as Site J, ESA is giving the public a chance to name what may well become one of the most famous areas of space rock in the solar system. Seen below, Site J was carefully selected after weeks of study, and it's selection represents the first in a complex series of steps that will hopefully see Philae land safely on the surface of Comet 67p.

 

 

"Now that we know where we are definitely aiming for, we are an important step closer to carrying out this exciting – but high-risk – operation," said Rosetta Mission Manager, Fred Jansen. "However, there are still a number of key milestones to complete before we can give the final Go for landing."

 

Those milestones include the continued maneuvering of Rosetta to a close enough distance from the surface of Comet 67P. Once Philae is released by Rosetta, it begins a 7 hour-long descent process, which is detailed by the infographic below. With Philae safely on the comet surface, Rosetta will then push out to an orbit of around 20km away from 67P, whereby it will be able to play a support role to Philae whilst gathering its own data on the comet from its new elevated station.

 

(Credits: ESA)

 

If you want to submit a name for Philae's Site J landing site, visit the link below and make sure you accompany your chosen name with a 200 word description by tomorrow, 22nd October.

It's a large icy lump of rock that has spend millions of years hurtling through the vacuum of space, so you can imagine the surprise on the faces of ESA researchers when they discovered Comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko possessed what appeared to be sand dunes. Of course, it's not sand as we know it, but instead the dust that is almost inexplicably collecting on the comet's surface.

 

(Credit: ESA)

 

 

 

 

The images above were taken on October 18th with Rosetta approximately 8km away from Comet 67P, and the presence of those dusty dunes will be the focus of a great deal of study on the part of Rosetta's science team. However, most of ESA's energies will be full focused on the events leading up to November 12th, when the Rosetta team will attempt the first soft-landing on a comet in human history.

 

Last week, the landing site for Rosetta's Philae lander was officially confirmed. Currently known as Site J, the ESA is giving the public a chance to name what may well become one of the most famous areas of space rock, ever. Seen below, Site J was carefully selected after weeks of study, and it's selection represents the first in a complex series of steps that will hopefully see Philae land safely on the surface of Comet 67p.

 

 

"Now that we know where we are definitely aiming for, we are an important step closer to carrying out this exciting – but high-risk – operation," said Rosetta Mission Manager, Fred Jansen. "However, there are still a number of key milestones to complete before we can give the final Go for landing."

 

Those milestones include the continued maneuvering of Rosetta to a close enough distance from the surface of Comet 67P. Once Philae is released by Rosetta, it begins a 7 hour-long descent process, which is detailed by the infographic below. With Philae safely on the comet surface, Rosetta will then push out to an orbit of around 20km away from 67P, whereby it will be able to play a support role to Philae whilst gathering its own data on the comet from its new elevated station.

 

(Credits: ESA)

 

If you want to submit a name for Philae's Site J landing site, visit the link below and make sure you accompany your chosen name with a 200 word description by tomorrow, 22nd October.

http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Rosetta/Name_Rosetta_mission_s_landing_site

 

Science
Space
NASA
Philae/Rosetta
Space Imagery

Load Comments