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You’re going to land **there**????

Over the past couple of days more images of Philae’s landing site, “Site J”, have been released, allowing us our clearest and closest view yet of the area yet. They have also given us a stark reality check about how hard it is going to be to land Philae safely.

Here’s one of the most recent images released by ESA…

Philae_s_primary_landing_site_mosaic v2

,…which is actually a mosaic of two separate OSIRIS images. Philae is due to land in the middle of that area on November 12th. Now, at that scale it looks fairly flat. A bit bumpy here and there, true, but nothing too dangerous right? That’s because you really can’t get any sense of scale from an image like that, you have nothing familiar to compare the boulders, ledges and scarps with, do you? I mean, looking at that image, are those boulders a metre or a hundred metres across? You just can’t tell. No, to be able to really appreciate the challenge facing Philae you need to be able to mentally grasp the scale of things at Site J, and that means adding something to that image you *know* the size of, and can then compare everything else to.

I’ve been trying to do that, unsuccessfully, but astronomy writer Richard Berry has created something which really brings home the scale of features at Philae’s landing site. By adding a 100m long scale bar, and a 75m long 777 airliner to the scene, he shows us just how “busy” the site is…



Woah…. look at that! THAT brings it home now, doesn’t it? Let’s take a look at the size of some of those rocks scattered around the landing site…

scale rocks

<<< gulp >>>

So, with this in mind, how big would Philae be in comparison? And how dangerous is the little lander’s landing site?

Well, here is photo showing ROSETTA under construction, with Philae nestled inside… note her teeny size compared to the people around the probe…

philae  c

Okay… so, how big is Philae compared to the boulders and other features shown in the latest images of Site J..?

I’ll show you. But warning – you might want to sit down before you take a look at the next image..,

THIS big…

crop philae rocks

Oh… my…

crop philae rocks crop

I feel a bit weak at the knees, don’t you? 😦

I think we’ll look at something else!

Today ESA released its latest set of four navcam images of 67P, and again they offer us some fascinating views of the surface of the comet. Here are my latest “tour” photos…



Every day ESA offers us new wonders doesn’t it? Full credit to the Outreach and media teams who, through the release of these navcam images, and the excellent ROSETTAS blogs, are making sure people with an interest in the mission are kept informed about what’s happening and allowed to “feel a part” of the mission.

I’ll end this post with a look back at an image released a couple of days ago which I didn’t have time to post at the time. It’s another “selfie” of ROSETTA with 67P in the background, and it’s beautiful…


…and a closer look at the comet by itself…


…and in less than a month’s time Europe will attempt Mankind’s first ever landing on that comet.

I know…


One Response

  1. […] in Wahrheit sehr geringe Albedo des Kerns demonstriert, wie Rosetta zu ihrem Namen kam und Artikel hier, hier (mehr) und hier. Sowie ein neues Panorama von Opportunity, gelungene Starts einer Ariane 5 […]

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