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Rosetta update: Both "big burns" completed successfully

Emily Lakdawalla • June 10, 2014

Rosetta is now in the final phase of its approach to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko after a decade-long journey. The two largest burns have now succeeded, and Rosetta reported this morning via Twitter that the second burn was close to perfect.

Pretty pictures: Rosetta's comet is now acting like one!

Emily Lakdawalla • May 15, 2014

New photos from ESA's comet-chaser show its destination comet, 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, developing a coma.

Rosetta update: Final orbit matching phase has begun

Emily Lakdawalla • May 08, 2014

Rosetta is in the final stage of its approach to comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Yesterday, the spacecraft successfully performed the first of ten burns it needs to match velocity with the comet.

Rosetta update: Instrument commissioning going well; Philae cameras activated

Emily Lakdawalla • April 22, 2014

Rosetta and Philae have very nearly completed a six-week phase of spacecraft and instrument checkouts to prepare the mission to do science. Recently, the lander used its cameras for the first time since hibernation, producing some new photos of Rosetta in space.

Comet spotted! Rosetta's first sight of Churymov-Gerasimenko since wakeup

Emily Lakdawalla • March 27, 2014

Rosetta has turned on its cameras and sighted its comet for the first time since waking from hibernation. Next activity: waking the Philae lander.

The Very Large Telescope sights Rosetta's comet target, sees activity beginning

Emily Lakdawalla • March 10, 2014

Rosetta's comet target, 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, has emerged from behind the Sun as seen from Earth, and the Very Large Telescope has photographed it. The new images show that cometary activity has already begun as Rosetta approaches for its August rendezvous.

Rosetta update from mission control

Daniel Scuka • January 21, 2014

We spoke with (a slightly tired but hugely happy) Rosetta Spacecraft Operations Manager Andrea Accomazzo earlier this afternoon and he reports the spacecraft is doing fine!

Rosetta is awake!

Emily Lakdawalla • January 20, 2014

It was a tense half an hour for Rosetta fans all over the world as we waited for a spike in a graph to inform us that Rosetta had awoken from a 31-month slumber to phone home.

What's up in planetary missions in 2014

Emily Lakdawalla • December 31, 2013

With the New Year upon us, what can we look forward to in 2014? For me, the main event of 2014 is that ESA's Rosetta mission finally -- finally! -- catches up to the comet it has been chasing for a decade. We will lose LADEE, gain two Mars orbiters, and launch Hayabusa2. The year begins with an amazing 24 spacecraft exploring or cruising toward various planetary destinations.

Cometary Science at EPSC

Geraint Jones • September 26, 2013

Recently, almost a thousand researchers gathered in London for Europe’s annual meeting of planetary scientists. Here's a report from one session on cometary science.

A forgotten image of Earth and the Moon

Emily Lakdawalla • February 13, 2013

While researching another story, I came across an image I don't remember ever seeing before, of a moonrise from an unexpected source.

One of my favorite space images of all time: Rosetta was here

Emily Lakdawalla • January 31, 2013

A conversation on Twitter today reminded me of this photo, which is one of my all-time favorite space images: the view from Rosetta during its Mars flyby.

My ever-popular asteroids-and-comets montage, now in color, with bonus Toutatis

Emily Lakdawalla • December 18, 2012

My collage of all the asteroids and comets visited by spacecraft is probably the single most popular image I have ever posted on this blog. I've now updated it to be in color and to include Toutatis.

DPS 2012, Day 5: How to make asteroids crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle

Emily Lakdawalla • October 19, 2012

A summary of just one talk from the Division for Planetary Sciences meeting, by Lindy Elkins-Tanton, which provided a neat explanation for how asteroids can be melted and layered on the inside yet have a primitive-looking exterior.

Steins, a jewel in the asteroid belt

Emily Lakdawalla • June 13, 2012

A notice of some new names for features on asteroid 2867 Steins inspired me to dig up the data set from the September 5, 2008 Rosetta flyby and explore it to see what it contained.

Pretty Pictures: Amazing Asteroid Lutetia

Emily Lakdawalla • April 10, 2012

A long-awaited data set is finally public (well, long-awaited by me, at least). The Rosetta team has now published their data from the July 10, 2010 flyby of asteroid (21) Lutetia. This data set is absolutely stunning, and my friends in the amateur image processing community wasted no time in creating art out of it.

At last: Rosetta's Mars flyby photos have been released!

Emily Lakdawalla • January 24, 2012

On February 24, 2007, the Rosetta spacecraft passed by Mars, the second of four planetary gravity-assist flybys on its long route to a 2014 rendezvous with comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. At the time, they released two photos from the main science camera, OSIRIS.

Notes from Day 5 of the EPSC/DPS meeting: Saturn's storm, Phobos, and Lutetia

Emily Lakdawalla • October 07, 2011

Today was (is) the last day of the Division of Planetary Sciences / European Planetary Science Congress meeting in Nantes, France.

Watching Phobos pass by Jupiter

Emily Lakdawalla • June 17, 2011

Here is a really cool view of Phobos in the foreground with gigantic (but very distant) Jupiter sitting in the background, a fortuitous alignment that the Mars Express High-Resolution Stereo Camera team took advantage of on June 1.

Rosetta has entered its long sleep

Emily Lakdawalla • June 14, 2011

One big space event that I missed while I was on vacation was Rosetta's entry into hibernation. Rosetta is the biggest interplanetary spacecraft that has been launched by ESA, and it has the groundbreaking goal of entering orbit around a comet and dropping a lander onto it.

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