New Images from Philae Reveal Comet’s Ancient Surface

First panorama sent by Philae from the surface of the comet. At upper right we see the reflection of the Sun and the top of the  CONSERT instrument antenna. Credit: ESA

Rosetta’s lander Philae has returned the first panoramic image from the surface of a comet. The view, unprocessed, as it has been captured by the CIVA-P imaging system, shows a 360º view around the point of final touchdown. The three feet of Philae’s landing gear can be seen in some of the frames. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA

We may not know exactly where Philae is, but it’s doing a bang-up job sending its first photos from comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. After bouncing three times on the surface, the lander is tilted vertically with one foot in open space in a sort of “handstand” position. When viewing the photographs, it’s good to keep that in mind.

Philae landed nearly vertically on its side with one leg up in outer space. Here we see it in relation to the panoramic photos taken with the CIVA cameras. Credit: ESA

Although it’s difficult to say how far away the features are in the images, Jean Pierre Biebring, principal investigator of CIVA/ROLIS (lander cameras), said that the features shown in the frame at lower left are about 1-meter or 3 feet away. Philae settled into its final landing spot after a harrowing first bounce that sent it flying as —> Read More Here


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