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Catching up with ROSETTA…

Been away for a few days so I’ve gotten a bit behind with posting news and pics relating to ESA’s ROSETTA mission, so where have we got to? Well, if you are a follower of the ROSETTA pages you’ll have noticed that the NAVCAM image pipeline dried up soon after my last post here. That’s because the cameras are now involved in the search for a suitable landing site for the probe’s PHILAE lander, because Landing Day is coming up fast now and the ROSETTA team really, really need to identify somewhere on the comet’s bizarre, tortured nucleus that looks to be a safe place for PHILAE to settle down on ad get down to work.

And it seems they have now reduced the list of possible landing sites to five, shown here on images released by ESA…

UuPtltP

You really need to click on that and enlarge it to take a proper look at the proposed landing sites. They all look fascinating, for different reasons. I’m sure ROSETTA’s high resolution OSIRIS camera is imaging all those sites in incredible detail, picking out each and every boulder and fissure which might pose a threat to PHILAE if it tried landing there. I hope they share some new full resolution OSIRIS images of those regions soon. Come on guys, share the beauty! 🙂

Meanwhile, ROSETTA is now so close to 67 that the comet overflows the NAVCAM’s field of view, so we’re getting pictures like this…

Comet_on_23_August_2014_-_NavCam

With a bit of work, some more detail can be teased out of that view…

Comet_on_23_August_2014_-_NavCam enh

…and I think that if you look more closely at the features on the limb of the nucleus at the top there, you begin to get a sense of just how dramatic the scenery on 67P is…

peaks

So, the hunt is now on for a landing site for PHILAE! The ROSETTA team are taking lots of breathtakingly-detailed images of the comet, and I hope we get a closer look at those candidate sites too, because it would be fascinating to compare them.

More soon!

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One Response

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