The Top of the Comet

Rosetta NAVCAM view of 67P/G-C on 11 Aug. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM

Rosetta NAVCAM view of 67P/G-C on 11 Aug. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM

What a great look at 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko by Rosetta. The view is from 102 km / 63 miles away on 11 Aug 2014.

If it (what I call the top) would just rotate a wee bit more we could get a look inside that crater on the end. Is there a central peak or any signs of melting in there? That would be composition dependent, good clues.

See a Hi Res version here.

A Bright Crater

A bright crater on Mercury.  Image: Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

A bright crater on Mercury. Image: Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

The MESSENGER spacecraft shows us a relatively young crater on the planet Mercury. We can infer it is “young” by evidenced by the bright white rays which
are made from soils exposed by the impact.

The crater in the center of the white imapact zone and the one beside it are rather small. The larger crater to the right, it’s soil matches the surrounding terrain, is about 16 km / 10 miles across.

The image was taken by MESSENGER’s Wide Angle Camera and is part of a program to aquire high resolution images in 11-colors.

The MESSENGER website.

Perseid Meteor Shower

My favorite meteor shower of the year is here, actually it will peak 12 to 13 August. We are usually treated to a great show thanks to the debris from comet Swift-Tuttle. I’ve seen activity in the hundreds of meteors per hour in the past.

This year we have the Supermoon so skies will be pretty bright, if I have good clear skies I’ll be out looking anyway, who knows perhaps a fireball will happen by – I’d see that! Too bad it is going to rain on me and to think I arraigned the next two days off from work and everything.

Here’s hoping YOU have better luck and if nothing else you can see the moon!

Video

Rosetta’s Latest

NAVCAM image of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on 09 Aug. ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM

NAVCAM image of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on 09 Aug. ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM

Here’s the latest image of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from Rosetta (09 August 2014). Rosetta was about 99 km / 62 miles from the comet’s surface.

I wonder if anybody at ESA knew 67P/C-G was so complex?  I bet they didn’t plan on finding the best place to put the little Philae lander to be almost as difficult as getting there. :mrgreen:

Rosetta blog.

Landing on a Comet

As if getting Rosetta to comet 67 G-C and then successfully entering an orbit. ESA is going to land on the comet with the little Philae. I am waiting to hear where though.

Want to hear something kind of sad? Mind that I don’t watch much television, but I’ve not heard one mention of this mission here in the states on any of the main “news media” outlets. One of, if not the coolest missions in years and years and nothing, except for NASA TV but that doesn’t count.

Anyway, ESA/ATG medialab have created this extended version of Philae touchdown animation to include visualisations of some of the science experiments on on the lander.

The animation begins with the deployment of Philae from Rosetta at comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko in November 2014. Rosetta will come to within about 10 km of the nucleus to deploy Philae, which will take several hours to reach the surface. Because of the comet’s extremely low gravity, landing gear will absorb the small forces of landing while ice screws in the probe’s feet and a harpoon system will lock the probe to the surface. At the same time a thruster on top of the lander will push it down to counteract the impulse of the harpoon imparted in the opposite direction. Once it is anchored to the comet, the lander will begin its primary science mission, based on its 64-hour initial battery lifetime. The animation then shows five of Philae’s 10 instruments in action: CIVA, ROLIS, SD2, MUPUS and APXS.

Rosetta’s Philae lander is provided by a consortium led by DLR, MPS, CNES and ASI.

Credit: ESA/ATG medialab

Rosetta Arrival Updates

ESA presented information of Rosetta arrival and orbit entry and first arrival images, science results and and upcoming highlights from comet 67P/C-G.

The video here is the first arrival images, science results and upcoming highlights part. This is about an hour long but it goes quick, a very good presentation. They need a podcast of this IMHO, perhaps they have one, I have to look around.

Want to see the arrival and orbit entry portion? See it here, I’ve not had a chance to look at it yet, that portion is a bit over one and half hours and I just started the one shown above for the second time.

Rosetta in Orbit!

Rosetta sees 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from 130 km. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

Rosetta sees 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from 130 km. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

The orbital insertion process began this morning as Rosetta started the first leg of a series of three-legged triangular paths about the comet. The legs will be about 100 km long and it will take Rosetta between three and four days to complete each one.

The result? WOW! Look at this! 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from just 130 km / 81 miles. This is my favorite so far, the diversity of terrain is incredible.

Here’s ESA’s description:

Stunning close up detail focusing on a smooth region on the ‘base’ of the ‘body’ section of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The image was taken by Rosetta’s OSIRIS narrow-angle camera and downloaded today, 6 August. The image clearly shows a range of features, including boulders, craters and steep cliffs.

The image was taken from a distance of 130 km and the image resolution is 2.4 metres per pixel.

If you thought a comet was a smooth snowball, well, not so much:

sort of a snowball shape

really more of a peanut shape.

Volcanic Activity on Io

Infrared images of Jupiter's moon Io.  CREDIT: IMKE DE PATER AND KATHERINE DE KLEER, UC BERKELEY.

Infrared images of Jupiter’s moon Io. CREDIT: IMKE DE PATER AND KATHERINE DE KLEER, UC BERKELEY.

Volcanic outbursts on the Moon Io witnessed by the W. M. Keck and Gemini Observatories on Mauna Kea, Hawaii. The images are amazing especially when you consider this moon is 3,700 km / 2,300 miles in diameter and it is the inner most moon of Jupiter.

While Io is known to be volcanic, this seems to be a bit unusual because three outbursts inside of two weeks is more then generally is anticipated in a year or even two. Not just that, but these are huge outbursts:

De Pater’s long-time colleague and coauthor Ashley Davies, a volcanologist with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., said that the recent eruptions resemble past events that spewed tens of cubic miles of lava over hundreds of square miles in a short period of time.

“These new events are in a relatively rare class of eruptions on Io because of their size and astonishingly high thermal emission,” he said. “The amount of energy being emitted by these eruptions implies lava fountains gushing out of fissures at a very large volume per second, forming lava flows that quickly spread over the surface of Io.”

Read the Keck press release here, very interesting.

Rosetta To Begin Orbiting

67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko Credit: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM

67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko Credit: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM

Rosetta will fire its thrusters for 6 minutes and 26 seconds at 09:00 UTC TODAY!  This is the first step in putting Rosetta in orbit around the comet — It all comes down to this!.

EDIT: ESA has some video coverage too, hope my connection holds up!

The fuzzy craters on 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko are nice and clear in this Rosetta NavCam image from just 234 km / 145 miles.

Taken in 04 August, the comet is low in the image frame because of a trajectory adjustment after a rendezvous burn the previous day.

ESA Space in Images