Rosetta space probe takes sharp, close-up images of comet

Rosetta space probe takes sharp, close-up images of comet
Four-image montage of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko comprising images taken on 14 February 2015 during the first dedicated close flyby. This image set was taken at 10:32 GMT from a distance of 12.6 km from the comet centre, or about 10.6 km from the surface seen in the foreground. Using the surface distance, the image scale is 0.9 m/pixel and the montage measures about 1.8 km across. Closest approach of about 6 km from the comet’s surface took place at 12:41 GMT.

The European Space Agency says high-resolution images the Rosetta space probe took during a swoop close to a comet it's been tracking for months show boulders on the comet's surface as well as "stunning details of the contrasting terrain."

The agency said Monday the boulders ranged in size from a few meters (yards) to a few tens of meters, and lie "scattered across the whole surface of the comet." It says the sun was directly behind Rosetta as the pictures were taken, providing optimal light conditions.

While swooping in as close as 6 kilometers (under 4 miles) Saturday to take the pictures, Rosetta's instruments also sampled the innermost parts of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko's atmosphere.

Rosetta, which has been alongside the since August, is now moving out to take far-view images.

  • Rosetta space probe takes sharp, close-up images of comet
    Four-image mosaic of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko comprising images taken on 14 February 2015 during the first dedicated close flyby. This image set was taken at 14:15 GMT from a distance of 8.9 km from the surface. The image scale is 0.76 m/pixel and the mosaic measures 1.35 × 1.37 km. Closest approach of about 6 km from the comet’s surface took place at 12:41 GMT. Credit: ESA
  • Rosetta space probe takes sharp, close-up images of comet
    Four-image montage of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko comprising images taken on 14 February 2015 during the first dedicated close flyby. This image set was taken at 4:32 GMT from a distance of 35.0 km. The image scale is 3.0 m/pixel and the montage measures about 6.1 km across. Closest approach of about 6 km from the comet’s surface took place at 12:41 GMT. Credit: ESA

Explore further

Europe's Rosetta craft swoops for close look at comet

© 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Citation: Rosetta space probe takes sharp, close-up images of comet (2015, February 16) retrieved 2 April 2020 from https://phys.org/news/2015-02-rosetta-space-probe-sharp-close-up.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
146 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments