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Philae heading for Agilkia…

What? I thought she was heading for a comet called 67P? Yes, she is, but now we know the name of the site she will land on when she touches down on the comet’s surface in just over a week’s time. The area of the comet’s surface selected to be Philae’s landing site, previously known as simply “Site J”, has been christened “Agilkia”…

Why?

The full background to this decision can be found in a detailed post on the ESA blog, but essentially the landing site is named for Agilkia Island, an island on the Nile River in the south of Egypt. When the island of Philae – yes, that’s where the lander gets its name from – was flooded during the construction of the famous Aswan dams, a number of Ancient Egyptian buildings, including the famous Temple of Isis, was moved to Agilkia to protect and preserve them.

Where is this magical island? Let’s have a quick zoom in…

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And here’s what it looks like as you approach it…

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(  Pic from this blog: http://marczawel.com/2008/05/19/egyptian-adventure-onward/  )

And what about the Agilkia on 67P? What does that look like? Well, yesterday ESA released its latest set of beautiful navcam images – no, still no sign of any new OSIRIS images, if you were wondering; our MPS friends are still laughing at us from behind their locked vault door, committed to selfishly keeping their fantastic images to themselves – which were taken on October 30th, and they show us Site J – sorry! Agilkia! – in a new light…

Philae_s_landing_site_30_October_2014

That’s Agilkia up at the top there. Now, I did a little work on that image, and here is my “portrait” which I hope you enjoy…

Agilkia enh frame

And an oblique view of Agilkia…

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Yes, they really ARE going to try and land on that next Thursday…!!

Going back to the ESA images, I pushed up the levels and contrast etc on that mosaic and this appeared…

Philae_s_landing_site_30_October_2014 b

WOW!!! Now, I am NOT saying those are jets, or areas of activity… they might just be imaging artefacts that appeared when I played about with the levels etc. I just thought it looked pretty dramatic, that’s all. But if those *are* jets, etc, it shows a LOT of activity on the comet, doesn’t it?

Meanwhile, ESA’s fantastic Rosetta outreach team has released its latest beyond-cute animation, this time covering Rosetta and Philae’s arrival at 67P and the preparations for landing. You can see it here:

Rosetta YouTube video

I mean, come on, how cute is this pic of Philae preparing for landing????

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Seriously, ESA, well played, those videos are fantastic, and you have really done well with promoting Rosetta. It’s just a shame you’re being let down so badly by the OSIRIS camera team, who could be turning up the public interest in this mission to 10 now by releasing some of their images. Shame on them.

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