Look Out Below! Rosetta Will Give Its Comet A Close Buzz In February

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko spins in this animation of 24 montages obtained by the Rosetta spacecraft between Nov. 19 and Dec. 3, 2014. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM – CC BY-SA IGO 3.0

Remember how breathless we felt when the Philae lander actually made it to the surface of its target comet a few weeks ago? Sure, the maneuvers didn’t go as planned, but the images the spacecraft obtained in its brief spurts of activity on the surface are still being shared and discussed eagerly by scientists (amid a controversial image release policy, to be sure.)

Well, the truck delivery for Philae — the Rosetta spacecraft, still doing maneuvers above — is going to do something special in February. The machine is going to scoot down real close to the comet, just before heating from the Sun could make it dangerous to do so due to gas and dust emissions.

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© Elizabeth Howell for Universe Today, 2014. |
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