Help Shape the Future of Space Exploration

Join The Planetary Society Now  arrow.png

Join our eNewsletter for updates & action alerts

    Please leave this field empty

Headshot of Emily Lakdawalla

Rosetta Was Here

Posted by Emily Lakdawalla

25-02-2007 10:27 CST

Topics: best of, mission status, pretty pictures, pics of spacecraft in space, Mars, Rosetta and Philae

Doug included this image in his blog entry below but I thought it was so amazing that I wanted to write about it too.

Rosetta Was Here

CIVA / Philae / ESA Rosetta

Rosetta Was Here
This amazing view was captured by the CIVA camera on Rosetta's Philae lander just four minutes before its closest approach to Mars on February 25, 2007. The spacecraft was only 1,000 kilometers above the planet. Part of the spacecraft bus fills the view on the left side, and one of the long solar panels stretches out across the center. In the background is the globe of Mars, the view looking down on Cydonia mensae. The original photo was black-and-white; this version is colorized.

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.

See other posts from February 2007


Or read more blog entries about: best of, mission status, pretty pictures, pics of spacecraft in space, Mars, Rosetta and Philae


Leave a Comment:

You must be logged in to submit a comment. Log in now.
Facebook Twitter Email RSS AddThis

Blog Search


Our Curiosity Knows No Bounds!

Become a member of The Planetary Society and together we will create the future of space exploration.

Join Us

Featured Images

Soyuz TMA-16M closes in
Liftoff of Soyuz TMA-16M
One-year crew liftoff
Tethys in enhanced color: south pole and southern Ithaca Chasma
More Images

Featured Video

Intro Astronomy 2015. Class 8: Galilean Satellites, Saturn System

Watch Now

Space in Images

Pretty pictures and
awe-inspiring science.

See More

Join the New Millennium Committee

Let’s invent the future together!

Become a Member

Connect With Us

Facebook! Twitter! Google+ and more…
Continue the conversation with our online community!