Comet-Bouncing Philae Spacecraft Caught On Camera In Newly Enhanced Images

The Rosetta spacecraft spotted Philae and its shadow shortly after the lander touched down on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko and bounced up again. The first image is taken on Nov. 12, 2014 at 10:30 a.m. EDT (3:30 p.m. UTC) and the second five minutes later. Credit: SA/Rosetta/NAVCAM; pre-processed by Mikel Canania

When the Philae lander arrived at its target comet last week, the little spacecraft landed three times in two hours before coming to a rest. While controllers could see this information from data coming in, they didn’t have any photographic proof — until now.

The animation above, an enhancement of images from the orbiting Rosetta spacecraft released late last week, show Philae and its shadow –mid-bounce! — very shortly after landing on Wednesday (Nov. 12). Philae’s first jump lasted nearly two hours before it took off again, flew for another few minutes, and landed in a shady spot where its batteries drained on Friday.

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© Elizabeth Howell for Universe Today, 2014. |
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