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More 67P beauty…

At the risk of sounding like a scratched CD here, THANK YOU again to the team at ESA which is releasing images of Comet 67P taken by ROSETTA’s navcam. It’s because of their hard work and willingness to share their pictures with the public and the media that the ROSETTA mission is still being followed and supported by the public and the media. There was a big meeting of ESA Ministers yesterday, to discuss the future of the space agency and to map out the road ahead for the immediate future. I hope that somewhere, inbetween the discussions and debates about ESA’s role in the ISS and the building of a new Ariane 6 launcher, someone spoke up in praise of ROSETTA and the Outreach team which has worked tirelessly to bring the mission to life. I also hope that someone pointed out how appallingly the OSIRIS team has supported both the mission and ESA itself, and at least suggested that a future meeting might look closely at the agreements between ESA and the science teams and PIs who are happy to hitch a ride to amazing places Out There on ESA spacecraft, but then loathe to share views of the sights they see when they get there. That is wrong, and I will never stop believing or saying that it is wrong.

I know, I know… “We’ll get to see ALL the pictures in a few months’ time…” Hmm. Will we? Will we really? It seemed so, now I’m not so sure. In one of the entries on the ESA ROSETTA blog, this was said…

With Rosetta, all data from its 21 instruments (11 on the orbiter, 10 on the Philae lander) are subject to a 6 month proprietary period. Thus any release of images and scientific results that we are making now, as we approach rendezvous with 67P/C-G on 6 August, is being done with direct involvement of the instrument science teams, who are agreeing to waive the proprietary period for those items.

6 months, it’s there in black and white on the ESA blog. But then, during a recent Reddit Ask me Anything online Q&A, this was said…

From: Reddit AMA November 2014


To any one in the team! Hi! First of all its great knowing that there are people that among the hardships that humanity is going through these times continue to work on expanding the boundries of knowledge in the day by day basis and continue to inspire others like me to do so as well. My question is, will you make the data collected in the mission open the others to study as well in the general community? I believe that crowd sourcing the analysis of the data and making it accessible to every one who’s interested in it (like me) to partake in the understandings of what is being discovered and even help you guys! What do you think?


All data will be archived and are then public. They will be archived in an understandable well calibrated format. This will take some time (1/2 to 1 year) and is additional work for the instrument teams.


All the data will be publicly available in 6 to 12 months in the ESA’s Planetary Science Archive.

That’s a form answer they had ready to cut out of a text file open on their desktop, and paste in as a reply to That Question, if ever I read one. I don’t know, I might just be being over-sensitive there, but to me, knowing the past record of the OSIRIS team, that seems a little bit dodgy. I really hope I’m proved wrong, and will be more than happy to eat my words here if I am come Spring, but who bets it will be closer to 12 months than 6 before we see those images? Hands up..? Yeah, me too.

Anyway… yesterday’s navcam mosaic was a beauty, take a look if you haven’t seen it already…


Credits: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM – CC BY-SA IGO 3.0

As has been said before, the comet’s movement inbetween frames now makes it very hard to build seamless mosaics of these quadruple images now… hard, but not impossible! One of the most accomplished image wizards I know, Damia Bouic, made this beautiful mosaic out of the images ESA used above…


Isn’t that gorgeous? You can see activity on the comet much more clearly in Damia’s image. Of course, if you push the processing a little harder you can see even more activity…

Comet_on_30_November_2014_NavCam b

Love the way 67P is waking up big time now. And as it nears the Sun, we’ll see that magnified many times over. Can’t wait!

In the meantime, here’s an enhanced crop of the lower left part of that image, showing lots of detail on the surface..