High-res Rosetta pics catch little Philae lander bouncing across comet


The European Space Agency’s decade-old Rosetta mission managed to do what no mission has done before—successfully rendezvous a probe with a comet and then land on it . Even if things didn’t go entirely as planned with the landing, the lion’s share of the mission’s science was always slated to be carried out by the Rosetta probe itself rather than by the Philae lander, so plenty of experiments will still be carried out over the next year. A mosaic assembled by ESA scientists showing Philae’s first bounce across Comet 67P. ESA In fact, one of the Rosetta probe’s instruments managed to capture some remarkable imagery last week during Philae’s landing. In a blog post that went live this morning, the  ESA posted pictures from the spacecraft’s OSIRIS imager (that’s Optical, Spectroscopic, and Infrared Remote Imaging System) showing Philae’s initial approach and first “bounce” off of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko on November 12. Philae was supposed to have anchored itself to Comet 67P with a pair of harpoons, but those harpoons didn’t fire on touchdown. Philae actually rebounded away from the comet (67P has a small but appreciable amount of gravity, although its escape velocity is only 0.5 meters per second). It was during the first of two “bounces” that Rosetta’s OSIRIS imager captured a series of frames showing the lander’s parabolic journey across the comet’s face. The exact location of Philae’s final resting place remains as yet undetermined. Read 1 remaining paragraphs | Comments

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High-res Rosetta pics catch little Philae lander bouncing across comet


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