Rosetta's Landing: When Philae Grabbed a Comet: Photos
As Rosetta's Philae lander descended and touched down on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko's surface, it quickly started sending back stunning photos of its adventure.
At 10:03 CET (4:03 am EDT) on Wednesday morning, the Rosetta mission's Philae lander separated from the Rosetta satellite to begin a 7 hour drop onto Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko's surface. This image was taken just after separation by the lander's CIVA-P imaging system. One of Rosetta's 14 meter-long solar arrays can be seen in shot.
Looking down, moments after separation, the Rosetta satellite can see that Philae's landing gear has deployed successfully.
Another view of Philae (the bright dot) descending into the dark after separation. Photo taken with Rosetta’s OSIRIS wide-angle camera.
Shortly before landing on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, Philae's Rosetta Lander Imaging System (ROLIS) panoramic camera captured this stunning photo of the landing site, proving that it was on target. Philae was 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) from the comet's surface at the time.
Moments before landing, Philae's ROLIS camera captured this photo of the comet's dusty surface. The few rocks that can be seen appear to be embedded in soft, dusty regolith.
The Rosetta mission crew celebrates Philae successfully landing on comet 67P, at the European Operations Space Center in Darmstadt, Germany on Nov. 12, 2014.
The red cross marks the spot where Philae should have landed. Although the lander was originally on target and did touch down there, the robot bounced as it could not anchor itself, causing it to land, a second time, 1 kilometer away. Rosetta mission scientists believe Philae came to rest somewhere near the cliffs in the upper-right of this image of Comet 67P's surface.
The first two CIVA images confirmed that, on Nov. 12, Philae settled on the comet's surface and was able to take its first photographs. One of the lander’s three feet can be seen in the foreground.
This is the first panoramic view taken on a comet's surface. The view, unprocessed, as it has been captured by the CIVA-P imaging system, shows a 360 degree view around the point of final touchdown. The three feet of Philae’s landing gear can be seen in some of the frames.
More images will be posted when they become available.