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Photos by Rosetta and Philae

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First Image Ever Taken from the Surface of a Comet

Photograph by ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA

Rosetta’s lander Philae is safely on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, as these first two CIVA images confirm. One of the lander’s three feet can be seen in the foreground. The image is a two-image mosaic.

On 12 November 2014, the ESA’s Rosetta mission landed its Philae probe on a comet, the first time in history that such a feat has been achieved. Rosetta was launched on 2 March 2004 and travelled 6.4 billion kilometres through the Solar System before arriving at the comet on 6 August 2014. [source]

The landing site, named Agilkia and located on the head of the bizarre double-lobed object, was chosen just six weeks after arrival based on images and data collected at distances of 30–100 km from the comet. Those first images soon revealed the comet as a world littered with boulders, towering cliffs and daunting precipices and pits, with jets of gas and dust streaming from the surface.

Over the next 2.5 days, the lander will conduct its primary science mission, assuming that its main battery remains in good health. An extended science phase using the rechargeable secondary battery may be possible, assuming Sun illumination conditions allow and dust settling on the solar panels does not prevent it. This extended phase could last until March 2015, after which conditions inside the lander are expected to be too hot for it to continue operating.

Below you will find a gallery of some of the most amazing images already taken to date by both Rosetta and its lander, Philae; including the first ever image taken from the surface of a comet. For more information and updates check out the official Rosetta website at rosetta.esa.int. You can also see a gallery of regularly updated images on Flickr. For real-time updates of the latest happenings, check out this live blog on the Guardian.

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This mosaic comprises four individual NAVCAM images taken from 31.8 km from the centre of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on 4 November 2014.

Photograph by ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

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Four-image NAVCAM mosaic of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, using images taken on 24 September 2014 when Rosetta was 28.5 km from the comet.

Photograph by ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

The following 10 images were taken from a distance of approximately 10 km:

ESA’s comet-chasing Rosetta mission spent much of the second half of October orbiting Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko at less than 10 km from its surface. This selection of previously unpublished ‘beauty shots’, taken by Rosetta’s navigation camera, presents the varied and dramatic terrain of this mysterious world from this close orbit phase of the mission.

 Some light contrast enhancements have been made to emphasize certain features and to bring out features in the shadowed areas. In reality, the comet is extremely dark -– blacker than coal. The images, taken in black-and-white, are grey-scaled according to the relative brightness of the features observed, which depends on local illumination conditions, surface characteristics and composition of the given area. Some slight vignetting can also be seen in the corners of some images.

1

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Photograph by ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

2

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Photograph by ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

3

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Photograph by ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

4

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Photograph by ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

5

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Photograph by ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

6

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Photograph by ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

7

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Photograph by ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

8

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Photograph by ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

9

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Photograph by ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

10

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Photograph by ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

 

Rosetta mission selfie at 16 km

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Photograph by ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA

Using the CIVA camera on Rosetta’s Philae lander, the spacecraft have snapped a ‘selfie’ at comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko from a distance of about 16 km from the surface of the comet. The image was taken on 7 October and captures the side of the Rosetta spacecraft and one of Rosetta’s 14 m-long solar wings, with the comet in the background.

Four-image Montages

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Photograph by ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

Four-image montage comprising images taken by Rosetta’s navigation camera from a distance of 9.7 km from the centre of comet 67P/C-G – about 7.7 km from the surface.

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Photograph by ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

Four-image montage comprising images taken by Rosetta’s navigation camera on 18 October from a distance of 9.9 km from the centre of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (about 7.9 km from the surface).

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Photograph by ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

Four-image montage comprising images taken by Rosetta’s navigation camera on 18 October from a distance of 9.8 km from the centre of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (about 7.8 km from the surface).

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Photograph by ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

Four-image montage comprising images taken by Rosetta’s navigation camera on 15 October from a distance of 9.9 km from the centre of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

Rosetta’s journey and timeline:

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Graphic by ESA

Primary Landing Site J:

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Photograph by ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

Close-up of the region containing Philae’s primary landing site J, which is located on the ‘head’ of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. The image was taken by Rosetta’s OSIRIS narrow-angle camera at 17:48 GMT on 14 September 2014 from a distance of about 30 km.

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Photograph by ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

Close-up of the region containing Philae’s primary landing site J, which is located on the ‘head’ of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. The image was taken by Rosetta’s OSIRIS narrow-angle camera at 17:31 GMT on 14 September 2014 from a distance of about 30 km.

Backup Landing Site C:

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Photograph by ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

Close-up of the region containing Philae’s backup landing site C, which is located on the ‘body’ of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. The image was taken by Rosetta’s OSIRIS narrow-angle camera at 06:33 GMT on 12 September 2014 from a distance of about 30 km.

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Photograph by ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

Close-up of the region containing Philae’s backup landing site C, which is located on the ‘body’ of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. The image was taken by Rosetta’s OSIRIS narrow-angle camera at 07:04 GMT on 12 September 2014 from a distance of about 30 km.

A Portion of the Comet:

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Photograph by ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

An image of a portion of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko obtained on 30 October, 2014 by Rosetta’s OSIRIS scientific imaging system from a distance of approximately 30 kilometres.

During Descent November 12, 2014:

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Photograph by ESA/Rosetta/Philae/ROLIS/DLR

The image shows comet 67P/CG acquired by the ROLIS instrument on the Philae lander during descent on Nov 12, 2014 14:38:41 UT from a distance of approximately 3 km from the surface.

 

Departing Orbit:

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Photograph by ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

This four-image NAVCAM mosaic shows Philae’s landing site as Rosetta departed its 10 km orbit last week in order to prepare for the deployment of Philae on 12 November. The images comprising this montage were taken on 30 October, when the spacecraft was 26.8 km from the centre of the comet.

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko:

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Photograph by ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on 12 September 2014, as seen by Rosetta’s OSIRIS wide-angle camera. The image was taken at 04:10 GMT from a distance of 29 km. The exposure time was 5.88 seconds.


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