In this side-by-side view, an image of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko obtained on October 30, 2014 by the OSIRIS scientific imaging system on the Rosetta spacecraft is displayed with two different saturation levels.
This image of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, from Rosetta’s OSIRIS scientific imaging system, shows two saturation levels. In the left image darkness hides the right half; the right image shows some surface structures. Image was taken 10/30/14 from about 18.6 miles (30 kilometers) away.
Image Credit:
ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team

 

Landing scheduled for Nov. 12

Landing site gets a name

Camera gets sneak peek of the comet’s “dark side”

After sailing through space for more than 10 years, the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft is now less than a week shy of landing a robotic probe on a comet.

The mission’s Philae (fee-LAY) lander is scheduled to touch down on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on Wednesday, Nov. 12 at 7:35 a.m PST/10:35 a.m. EST.  A signal confirming the landing is expected about 8:02 a.m. PST/11:02 a.m. EST. If all goes as planned with this complex engineering feat, it will be the first-ever soft landing of a spacecraft on a comet.

The landing site, formerly known simply as Site J, now has an official name: Agilkia. The name, chosen after an ESA public essay competition, is in keeping with the mission’s Egyptian theme. It refers to an island on the Nile where ancient buildings were relocated after the island Philae flooded. One hundred fifty people nominated Agilkia, including the overall winner, Alexandre Brouste from France. He has been invited to watch the landing activities at Rosetta’s mission control in Darmstadt, Germany.

After touchdown on Nov. 12, the Philae lander will obtain the first images ever taken from a comet’s surface. It will also drill into the surface to study the composition, and witness close up how a comet changes as its exposure to the sun varies. Philae can remain active on the surface for about two-and-a-half days. Its mothership, the Rosetta spacecraft, will remain in orbit around the comet through 2015. The orbiter will continue detailed studies of the comet as it approaches the sun and then moves away.

via Rosetta Races Toward Comet Touchdown | NASA.