As Rosetta gets closer and closer to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the OSIRIS narrow-angle camera captured this beautifully detailed image of the comet surface at 06:53 GMT from an altitude of about 8.9 km.
During Rosetta's final descent, which is currently undergoing, the OSIRIS narrow-angle camera captured this image of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko at 05:25 GMT from an altitude of about 11.7 km.
Rosetta is set to complete its historic mission in a controlled descent to the surface of its comet on 30 September, with the end of mission confirmation predicted to be within 20 minutes of 11:20 GMT (13:20 CEST). Details of how, when and where to follow the key moments online, starting with a review of the mission’s impressive haul of science highlights on 29 September, can be found below
Some impressive numbers from Rosetta's mission. Click for full res!
Astronomers have captured the sharpest, most detailed observations of a comet breaking apart 67 million miles from Earth, using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. The images suggest that the roughly 4.5-billion-year-old comet, named 332P/Ikeya-Murakami, or comet 332P, may be spinning so fast that material is ejected from its surface. The resulting debris is now scattered along a 3,000-mile-long trail, larger than the width of the continental United States.
As the Rosetta mission draws to a close next Friday, 30 September 2016, the CometWatch team here at ESA realised that this will be the last 'regular' entry of this popular feature on the blog (*) through which we have shared a great deal of views of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko taken with Rosetta's navigation camera (NAVCAM) since July 2014, shortly before Rosetta's arrival at the comet.
Brief but powerful outbursts seen from Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko during its most active period last year have been traced back to their origins on the surface. In the three months centred around the comet’s closest approach to the Sun, on 13 August 2015, Rosetta’s cameras captured 34 outbursts.
This new animation visualises Rosetta's last two months of trajectories around Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
This week's CometWatch entry is a double feature, with two images of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from Rosetta's NAVCAM taken on 31 August and 11 September 2016, when the spacecraft was 8.8 and 9.8 km, respectively, from the centre of the comet nucleus.
Today's blog post features detailed information on the intense, behind-the-scenes activities during Rosetta's final weeks, courtesy of Sylvain Lodiot, Spacecraft Operations Manager, at ESOC, and Laurence O'Rourke, Rosetta Science Ground Segment – Science Operations Coordinator, at ESAC.