It Doesn’t Get Better Than This


If you are a planetary scientist, you are having one of your best years… ever!

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko seen by Rosetta mission (Credit:ESA/Rosetta)

You all remember the hoopla last October when the Philae lander was dropped from the Rosetta space craft and “docked” with Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Before that we saw utterly amazing pictures of this comet revealing surface details and a landscape more bizarre than anyone could have imagined. Well, stay tuned for even better things to come, if that’s possible!

A dwarf planet up close.

Ceres as seen by Dawn on December 1 (Credit: NASA/JPL)

Already the Dawn spacecraft has made its final approach to the dwarf planet Ceres. Formerly called the largest ‘asteroid’ in the known solar system, it was reclassified along with Pluto, Haumea, Makemake and Eris as a dwarf planet. Now only about 740,000 kilometers from Ceres, Dawn’s cameras have matched the resolution of the Hubble Space Telescope in seeing surface details…. which is to say it hasn’t seen anything yet because the entire disk of Ceres is only about 3 pixels wide! Since Ceres has a diameter of 590 miles, Dawn can’t yet see anything smaller than about 200 miles across! —> Read More Here


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