OSIRIS spots Philae drifting across the comet

November 18, 2014, European Space Agency
Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

These incredible images show the breathtaking journey of Rosetta's Philae lander as it approached and then rebounded from its first touchdown on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko on 12 November 2014.

The mosaic comprises a series of captured by Rosetta's OSIRIS camera over a 30 minute period spanning the first touchdown. The time of each of image is marked on the corresponding insets and is in GMT. A comparison of the touchdown area shortly before and after first contact with the surface is also provided.

The images were taken with Rosetta's OSIRIS narrow-angle camera when the spacecraft was 17.5 km from the comet centre, or roughly 15.5 km from the surface. They have a resolution of 28 cm/pixel and the enlarged insets are 17 x 17 m.

From left to right, the images show Philae descending towards and across the comet before touchdown. The image taken after touchdown, at 15:43 GMT, confirms that the lander was moving east, as first suggested by the data returned by the CONSERT experiment, and at a speed of about 0.5 m/s.

The final location of Philae is still not known, but after touching down and bouncing again at 17:25 GMT, it reached there at 17:32 GMT. The imaging team is confident that combining the CONSERT ranging data with OSIRIS and navcam images from the orbiter and images from near the and on it from Philae's ROLIS and CIVA cameras will soon reveal the lander's whereabouts.

Explore further: Three touchdowns for Rosetta's lander

Related Stories

Three touchdowns for Rosetta's lander

November 14, 2014

(Phys.org) —After achieving touchdown on a comet for the first time in history, scientists and engineers are busy analysing this new world and the nature of the landing. 

Image: Agilkia landing site, 6 November 2014

November 11, 2014

The Agilkia landing site is seen on this image of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, taken with Rosetta's navigation camera on 6 November, just days before its lander Philae makes its historic descent to the surface.

Image: Rosetta selfie 16 km from comet

October 15, 2014

Using the CIVA camera on Rosetta's Philae lander, the spacecraft have snapped a 'selfie' at comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko from a distance of about 16 km from the surface of the comet. The image was taken on 7 October ...

Image: Rosetta's comet looms

August 28, 2014

Wow! Rosetta is getting ever-closer to its target comet by the day. This navigation camera shot from Aug. 23 shows that the spacecraft is so close to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko that it's difficult to fit the entire 2.5-mile ...

Recommended for you

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.