[meteorite-list] As Seen by Rosetta: Comet Surface Variations

From: Ron Baalke <baalke_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Fri, 15 Aug 2014 19:33:48 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <201408160233.s7G2Xm0i004089_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>


As Seen by Rosetta: Comet Surface Variations
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
August 15, 2014

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 comet'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

A 3-D version of the image depicting the comet is available at:


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.

Comets are time capsules containing primitive material left over from
the epoch when the sun and its planets formed. Rosetta's lander will obtain
the first images taken from a comet's surface and will provide the first
analysis of a comet's composition by drilling into the surface. Rosetta
also will be the first spacecraft to witness at close proximity how a
comet changes as it is subjected to the increasing intensity of the sun's
radiation. Observations will help scientists learn more about the origin
and evolution of our solar system, and the role comets may have played
in seeding Earth with water.

The scientific imaging system, OSIRIS, was built by a consortium led by
the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (Germany) in collaboration
with Center of Studies and Activities for Space, University of Padua (Italy),
the Astrophysical Laboratory of Marseille (France), the Institute of Astrophysics
of Andalusia, CSIC (Spain), the Scientific Support Office of the European
Space Agency (Netherlands), the National Institute for Aerospace Technology
(Spain), the Technical University of Madrid (Spain), the Department of
Physics and Astronomy of Uppsala University (Sweden) and the Institute
of Computer and Network Engineering of the TU Braunschweig (Germany).
OSIRIS was financially supported by the national funding agencies of Germany
(DLR), France (CNES), Italy (ASI), Spain, and Sweden and the ESA Technical

Rosetta is an ESA mission with contributions from its member states and
NASA. Rosetta's Philae lander is provided by a consortium led by the German
Aerospace Center, Cologne; Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research,
Gottingen; French National Space Agency, Paris; and the Italian Space
Agency, Rome. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology,
Pasadena, manages the U.S. participation in the Rosetta mission for NASA's
Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

For more information on the U.S. instruments aboard Rosetta, visit:


More information about Rosetta is available at:


DC Agle
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
agle at jpl.nasa.gov

J.D. Harrington
NASA Headquarters
j.d.harrington at nasa.gov

Markus Bauer
European Space Agency, Noordwijk, Netherlands
markus.bauer at esa.int

Received on Fri 15 Aug 2014 10:33:48 PM PDT

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