67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko from the ESO on 05 Oct 2013. ESO / C. Snodgrass (Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Germany)
Here is an image of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko taken on 05 Oct 2013. This is the comet ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft is destined to orbit. As far as I know this is the latest image of the comet.
The image was taken by the Very Large Telescope (VLT) at the European Southern Observatory (ESO) in Chile. We can see the comet with and without the background of stars.
The comet was about 500,000 km from Earth and heading behind the Sun from our perspective in its six and a half year orbit at the time. If you have about 15 minutes or so, I’d like to encourage you to visit ESA’s “Where is Rosetta“. This was fantastic look at Rosetta’s journey and gives a nice perspective into how much planning goes into a mission like this.
Partial screen shot showing the positions of Rosetta and 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko from the “Where is Rosetta” page on the ESA site.
If you watch it from the begining, you will notice around late 2010 or early 2011 both the comet and Rosetta go “off screen”, click the “reset view” to zoom out to see it. I would suggest not hitting that link until then though as early on the orbits by Rosetta are pretty interesting as far as how the mission was set up to put the spacecaft in position to chase down Churyumov–Gerasimenko — it loses its flair zoomed out.
You can also move the slider along the time line if you are in a hurry.
Rosetta’s signals were expected between 17:30 and 18:30 and at 18:18
Rosetta is awake!!!! BRAVO!
Rosetta’s signal! Credit: ESA
The live stream is available here.
I was getting worried I have to admit. I’ll put up the video of the reaction at the ESA at the moment of AOS if it becomes available, it was great.
ESA calls this “CHASING A COMET – The Rosetta Mission”
It’s like Rosetta, The Movie (so far) and very well done.
You can’t help but marvel at this plan of getting Rosetta to orbit 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in August 2014.
The orbit will be as little as 25 to 30 km for imaging/mapping and all the way down to around 2.5 km before releasing the lander called Philae in November 2014.
Not too long into 2014 the Rosetta spacecraft will be brought out of hibernation after 957 days.
The ESA’s Rosetta mission to comet Churyumov–Gerasimenko starts a new chapter with the awakening of Rosetta at 10:00 UTC on 20 January 2014.
The mission, in typical ESA style, is very bold. The spacecraft travels beyond the main asteroid belt powered by solar cells. Once it gets to the the comet (rendezvous is in August 2014) the goal then becomes to put a lander on the comet surface.
If all that wasn’t enough, Rosetta will tag along with Churyumov–Gerasimenko for the next year!
I was hoping to put up something about the Mars Express flyby of Phobos but I’ve heard nothing so far.