Rosetta Was Here
Posted by Emily Lakdawalla
25-02-2007 10:27 CST
Doug included this image in his blog entry below but I thought it was so amazing that I wanted to write about it too.
What you're seeing here is a view out the airplane window as Rosetta flew by Mars. The Philae lander, whose CIVA camera took this photo, was a passenger for this ride, bolted to the side of the Rosetta spacecraft. Can you imagine staring at black space for years, then seeing a reddish pinprick of light begin slowly to wax, then, over the course of just a few days, swell into a giant globe that fills your sky, then watch it trail away again as a crescent, leaving you alone in space again? Philae was along for that ride, and its snapshots will all contain parts of the Rosetta spacecraft in the foreground. I hope there were more pictures, taken at different times.
I've been trying to figure out why I get such a thrill from seeing pictures of spacecraft in space (or on a foreign planet). After all, that's not what the spacecraft were sent for -- they were sent to get pictures and data of these foreign places, not of themselves. I guess it's for the same reason that, when I travel, I hand my camera to passers-by and ask them to take photos of me standing in front of this or that landmark. It's a way of proving to myself that "I was here."
Rosetta Was Here.