Squeezing out unique scientific observations until the very end, Rosetta’s thrilling mission will culminate with a descent on 30 September towards a region of active pits on the comet’s ‘head’.
On 30 September, Rosetta will descend towards a smooth region in Ma’at, on the smaller of the two lobes of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. It will target a region that is home to several active pits measuring over 100 m wide and over 50 m deep, with the hope to get some close-up glimpses of these fascinating features.
Rosetta’s dust-analysing COSIMA (COmetary Secondary Ion Mass Analyser) instrument has made the first unambiguous detection of solid organic matter in the dust particles ejected by Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, in the form of complex carbon-bearing molecules.
Less than a month before the end of the mission, Rosetta’s high-resolution camera has revealed the Philae lander wedged into a dark crack on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.
This week’s CometWatch entry was taken with Rosetta’s NAVCAM on 22 August 2016, when the spacecraft was 6.8 km from the centre of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
Comet ISON, a bright ball of frozen matter from the earliest days of the universe, was inbound from the Oort Cloud at the edge of the solar system and expected to pierce the Sun's corona on November 28. Scientists were expecting quite a show. A new study suggests the comet actually broke up before reaching the sun.
Today’s CometWatch entry features a new image from Rosetta’s NAVCAM (below) along with a round-up of images released from the OSIRIS narrow- and wide-angle cameras in the last week.
Two incredible years have passed since ESA’s comet-chaser Rosetta arrived at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on 6 August 2014.
This stunning view along the boundary between Hatmehit and Wosret was captured by Rosetta’s NAVCAM on 24 July from a distance of 9.7 km to the centre of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
Tomorrow, 27 July 2016 at 09:00 UTC / 11:00 CEST, the Electrical Support System Processor Unit (ESS) on Rosetta will be switched off. The ESS is the interface used for communications between Rosetta and the lander, Philae, which has remained silent since 9 July 2015.