COBS News archive

Comet hitchhiker would take tour of small bodies
September 07, 2015
Catching a ride from one solar system body to another isn't easy. You have to figure out how to land your spacecraft safely and then get it on its way to the next destination. The landing part is especially tricky for asteroids and comets, which have low gravitational pull.

Comet impacts may have led to life on Earth -- and perhaps elsewhere
September 07, 2015
Comet impact on Earth are synonymous with great extinctions, but now research presented at the Goldschmidt geochemistry conference in Prague shows that early comet impact would have become a driving force to cause substantial synthesis of peptides -- the first building blocks of life. This may have implications for the genesis of life on other worlds.

CometWatch 26 August
September 07, 2015
Today's CometWatch entry is an image of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko taken by Rosetta’s NAVCAM on 26 August 2015, about 415 km from the nucleus.

CometWatch 22 August 2015
September 07, 2015
Today's CometWatch entry, featuring a dramatic outburst from Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, was taken by Rosetta’s NAVCAM on 22 August 2015, about 336 km from the nucleus.

CometWatch 16 August
September 07, 2015
Today's CometWatch entry was taken three days after the perihelion of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, on 16 August 2015. At the time, Rosetta was 331 km from the comet, which in turn was just over 186 million km from the Sun and almost 265 million km from Earth. This single frame NAVCAM image has a resolution of 28.2 m/pixel and it measures 28.9 km across.

Rosetta’s big day in the Sun
August 17, 2015
ESA’s Rosetta today witnessed Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko making its closest approach to the Sun. The exact moment of perihelion occurred at 02:03 GMT this morning when the comet came within 186 million km of the Sun.

Comet’s firework display ahead of perihelion
August 17, 2015
In the approach to perihelion over the past few weeks, Rosetta has been witnessing growing activity from Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, with one dramatic outburst event proving so powerful that it even pushed away the incoming solar wind.

CometWatch 6 August
August 15, 2015
Today's CometWatch entry is an image of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko taken on 6 August 2015, exactly a year to the day of Rosetta's historic rendezvous. The image was taken 261 km from the comet centre.

Organic molecules on comets: Philae's first results from Churi prove surprising
August 05, 2015
Organic molecules never previously observed in comets, a relatively varied structure on the surface but a fairly homogeneous interior, organic compounds forming agglomerates rather than being dispersed in the ice: these are just some of first results provided by Philae on the surface of comet Churi. These in situ findings, which contain a wealth of completely new information, reveal several differences in comparison with previous observations of comets and current models.

Comets: Soft shell, hard core?
August 05, 2015
Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko poses new riddles: Surface material measurements performed by the Philae landing module indicate that the near surface material might have changed since its formation. Up to now, many researchers had assumed that it has remained in virtually the same state since its formation about 4.5 billion years ago.

CometWatch 30 July
August 05, 2015
Today’s spectacular CometWatch entry was taken by Rosetta’s NAVCAM on 30 July 2015 from a distance of 178 km from Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

First release of Rosetta comet phase data from four orbiter instruments
August 04, 2015
ESA’s Rosetta downlink and archive teams are very happy to announce the release today of the first wave of Rosetta instrument data from the “comet pre-landing phase” via the Planetary Science Archive. Data from four instruments are included in this release: COSIMA, OSIRIS, ROSINA, and RPC-MAG.

Rosetta shows how comet interacts with the solar wind
July 31, 2015
This blog post is based on the papers “Evolution of the ion environment of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko: Observations between 3.6 and 2.0 AU ” by H. Nilsson et al.; “Rosetta observations of solar wind interaction with the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko” by T.W. Broiles et al.; and “Solar Wind Sputtering of Dust on the Surface of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko ” by Peter Wurz et al., which have all been accepted for publication in Astronomy and Astrophysics, and “Dynamical features and spatial structures of the plasma interaction region of 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko and the solar wind” by C. Koenders et al, which is published in Planetary and Space Science.

CometWatch 20 July
July 31, 2015
Today’s CometWatch entry was captured by Rosetta’s NAVCAM on 20 July 2015 from a distance of 171 km from the centre of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The image scale is 14.5 m/pixel and the image measures 14.9 km across.

Video report: Rosetta orbiter science
July 24, 2015
It is almost a year since the Rosetta spacecraft began orbiting comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on 6 August 2014. The orbiter’s eleven instruments are studying the comet at different wavelengths - infrared, ultraviolet, microwave and radio – as well as gathering high-resolution images and information about its shape, density, temperature and chemical composition.

Inside Imhotep
July 23, 2015
Imhotep, on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko's large lobe, is one of the most geologically diverse regions observed by Rosetta. This blog post presents the results of a new paper by Anne-Thérese Auger from the Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Marseille (LAM, France) et al, which describes Imhotep's key features and discusses possible scenarios for this region's evolution. The post was prepared with inputs from Anne-Thérese and co-author Olivier Groussin, also from LAM.

CometWatch 14 July
July 23, 2015
Today’s CometWatch entry was captured by Rosetta’s NAVCAM on 14 July 2015 from a distance of 161 km from the centre of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The image scale is 13.7 m/pixel and the image measures 14 km across.

Getting to know Rosetta’s comet: boundary conditions
July 16, 2015
In January the first maps of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko were published, identifying 19 geomorphologically distinct regions on its surface. Six months on and much more work has been done on refining the boundaries between these regions. This blog post showcases some of the OSIRIS images acquired from close orbit and presented in a new paper that have enabled an in-depth study of the different regions and their boundaries. This post was prepared with inputs from lead author M. Ramy El-Maarry from the University of Bern, who introduces this post with an inside story on how some of the regional names were chosen:

CometWatch 7 July
July 16, 2015
Today’s CometWatch entry was taken on 7 July, from a distance of 154 km from Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The image resolution is 13.1 m/pixel and the image measures 13.4 km across.

Hello, Pluto!
July 16, 2015
Images obtained by OSIRIS, Rosetta’s scientific imaging system, show dwarf planet Pluto shortly before the flyby of NASA's New Horizons.