We're less than an hour away from Rosetta's Earth flyby; closest approach will happen south of South America at 20:57 UTC. The Rosetta flyby blog has some neat photos of screens of data being transmitted real-time from the spacecraft. Images don't come in real-time, but one of the graphs shows the temperature of the VIRTIS imaging spectrometer, as it's being cooled in preparation for its science operations. It's probably shooting photos right now! Those images will -- if everything goes well -- be posted on the ESA website after I go to bed tonight; I'll check in again on Rosetta tomorrow morning to look for them.
Here's the anticipated timeline:
Science observations begin with measurements of Earth's magnetosphere to be continued until November 20)
Turn spacecraft toward Earth Rosetta will approach Earth from its night side.)
Closest approach to Earth
Turn spacecraft toward the Moon
Begin Moon imaging and science observations to be continued until November 20)
Begin data downli There will be one downlink slot every day until November 22)
Images on ESA website
End of Moon pointing slot (Fields and particles observations can continue even when the spacecraft is not pointed at Earth or the Moon.)
Images of Earth-Moon system from distance
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