Image: Rosetta spies comet surface variations

Image: Rosetta spies comet surface variations
Image of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko shows the diversity of surface structures on the comet's nucleus. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM

A new image of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko shows the diversity of surface structures on the comet's nucleus. It was taken by the Rosetta spacecraft's OSIRIS narrow-angle camera on August 7, 2014. At the time, the spacecraft was 65 miles (104 kilometers) away from the 2.5-mile-wide (4-kilometer) nucleus.

In the image, the 's head (in the top half of the image) exhibits parallel linear features that resemble cliffs, and its neck displays scattered boulders on a relatively smooth, slumping surface. In comparison, the comet's body (lower half of the image) seems to exhibit a multi-variable terrain with peaks and valleys, and both smooth and rough topographic features.

A 3-D version of the image depicting the comet is available at: www.esa.int/spaceinimages/Imag … osetta_s_comet_in_3D

Launched in March 2004, Rosetta was reactivated in January 2014 after a record 957 days in hibernation. Composed of an orbiter and lander, Rosetta's objectives are to study comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko up close in unprecedented detail, prepare for landing a probe on the comet's nucleus in November, and track its changes as it sweeps past the sun.


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Citation: Image: Rosetta spies comet surface variations (2014, August 18) retrieved 20 January 2020 from https://phys.org/news/2014-08-image-rosetta-spies-comet-surface.html
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