The five candidate landing sites for Philae. Credits: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA
ESA’s Landing Site Selection Group met over the past weekend and identified five possible landing sites for Rosetta’s Philae lander on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Three of the sites are on the smaller lobe and two on the larger one.
The original ten candidate sites were all marked with a letter designation, A to J and the group was narrowed to five at the meeting (A, B, C, J, I). The letters are only for identification and do not denote any preference.
After a detailed review for physical hazards and even long term illumination are complete, a primary landing site will be selected on 14 September. A secondary site will also be selected at that time.
Personally (today and very subject to change) I like:
Rosetta gets to 64 km from the comet. Credits: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM.
Here is an image from Rosetta of comet 67P/G-C on 22 August. Rosetta has been in “pyramid” shaped orbits to observe and approach the comet to get the date needed to get even closer in time. Check out the Rosetta blog for a nice description.
The close points of the trianglular or pyramid orbit has gone from 79 km to orbits in the 50 km range. the image above from 54 km. In just a couple of weeks the orbits will be close the 30 km.
I particularly like this image. Aside from the already good and improving detail, it is a nice look down into the central area below the cliffs. What is that material at the base of the cliff? Why is it there? Did it come from the “cliffs” like a landslide?
Get a full-res version at ESA’s Comet Watch.
Full-frame NAVCAM image taken on 18 August 2014 from a distance of about 84 km from comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Credits: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM
The view of 67P/G-C or “the duck” as some are calling it. Rosetta was just 84 km away from the comet when this was taken. Lobes, so much for comets to be nice round dirty snowballs. Rosetta is redefining how a lot of us think about comets.
I just marvel at how good this really is. Rosetta is orbiting comet 67/G-c about 412,000,000 km (~256 million miles) away from Earth and 527,000,000 km (~327 million miles) from the Sun and the comet is moving 15.7 km/s (35,120 mph). The numbers I show here are rounded and if you would like to see the actual numbers from ESA go the the very cool Where is Rosetta site and click on the Where is Rosetta today link at the bottom of the page. If you have not been at that site before you can watch the whole journey depicted in an animation – it’s really quite good.
There are a number of instruments on Rosetta and one of them, COSIMA is trying to capture dust particles coming from 67P. At the moment very little dust is coming from the comet so the plates used to catch the dust is being checked weekly during an initial exposure of a month. As the pair near the Sun more and more particles will be emitted.
One of the big questions is: what is this thing made of? We will find out if things go as planned. Yes, this IS going to be fun!
Where the Philae lander this coming November is a very important decision. ESA naturally wants to land in the spot where they are going to get to learn the most possible.
This is a great video for getting a feel for the mission and what it means:
For additional languages and video source – click here
Rosetta gets a look at the central region of comet 67P/G-C. Credits: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA
And then some. Wow what a shot! The Rosetta spacecraft used the orange filter on the narrow-angle OSIRIS camera from 103 km / 64 miles away.
This particular image is part of an anaglyph and that is just stunning. This non-3D version is pretty good for those without the 3D glasses. If you do have a pair of glasses or can do what I did and use blue and red plastic wrap (blue on the right eye and red on the left), just WOW! I kept moving the screen to try and get a look over the edge.
You know, there’s a dozen good looking spots to put a lander. No pressure ESA
See ESA’s 3D image here.
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.
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.
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
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 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.