On the Surface of a Comet

Welcome_to_a_cometThe Rosetta mission lander is “safely” on the surface of its comet. One of Philae‘s feet can be seen at the bottom left of this picture of the surface of C67/P Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Philae bounced twice before settling and returning images from the surface, traveling a kilometer or so after ricocheting off of its desired target. A surface panorama suggests that the lander has come to rest tilted and near a shadowing wall. The lander’s solar panels are getting less illumination than if it had landed in the open. The science instruments are working as planned and data is being relayed when the main Rosetta spacecraft is above the lander’s new horizon. However, with good recharging from the solar array, the batteries will not last as long as had been hoped.

Image Credit: ESA

2 thoughts on “On the Surface of a Comet

  1. Mr. Hoge,
    As we continue to follow this saga, would you mind filling in a little background about the mission goals? Obviously the rendezvous was a substantial undertaking; and one of the harder tricks to space-flight, but what is the probe going to do now that it’s harpooned the comet?

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