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Rosetta shifts from sedate circular orbits to swooping flybys

Emily Lakdawalla • February 10, 2015

For the period of time before and after the Philae landing, Rosetta was able to orbit the comet close enough that it was in gravitationally bound orbits, circling the comet's center of gravity. As the comet's activity increases, the spacecraft has to spend most of its time farther away, performing occasional close flybys. The first of these is at 6 kilometers, on February 14.

At last! A slew of OSIRIS images shows fascinating landscapes on Rosetta's comet

Emily Lakdawalla • January 26, 2015

The first results of the Rosetta mission are out in Science magazine. The publication of these papers means that the OSIRIS camera team has finally released a large quantity of closeup images of comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko, taken in August and September of last year. I explain most of them, with help from my notes from December's American Geophysical Union meeting.

New Churyumov-Gerasimenko Shapemodel!

Mattias Malmer • December 12, 2014

Mattias Malmer shares his latest shape model of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, created using data from the Rosetta spacecraft.

Rosetta imaged Philae during its descent -- and after its bounce

Emily Lakdawalla • November 17, 2014

This morning ESA released a set of images of the Philae lander taken by the Rosetta orbiter during -- and after -- the lander's first touchdown. The images contain evidence for the spot Philae first touched the comet, and a crucial photo of Philae's position several minutes into its first long bounce.

Now Philae down to sleep

Emily Lakdawalla • November 15, 2014

My last post on the drama in Darmstadt, where ground controllers believe Philae may have fell asleep for good.

Philae update: My last day in Darmstadt, possibly Philae's last day of operations

Emily Lakdawalla • November 14, 2014

Emily Lakdawalla gives a status report on Philae from the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt.

Philae status, a day later

Emily Lakdawalla • November 13, 2014

The Philae team scrambled all morning to comprehend the initially confusing status of the lander, and the picture is much clearer today. Speaking of which, there are lots more pictures!

Brief Philae "Morning After" update: First ÇIVA panorama from the surface

Emily Lakdawalla • November 13, 2014

I'm just getting up to speed on the news from overnight, which is mostly good: Philae remained in contact with the orbiter (which means the CONSERT radar sounding experiment was working), and it's sitting stably on the surface, although it's not anchored in any way. And they released the first ÇIVA image from the ground!

PHILAE HAS LANDED! [UPDATED]

Emily Lakdawalla • November 12, 2014

The landing happened on time just after 16:02 UT today! Philae mission manager Stephan Ulamec said: "Philae is talking to us! The first thing he told us was the harpoons have been fired and rewound. We are sitting on the surface." Those words later turned out not to be true; but we do know at least that Philae survived the landing and is returning good data.

Philae update: Photo documentation of Philae's separation!

Emily Lakdawalla • November 12, 2014

Here it is. We knew hours ago that Philae separation happened, but there's nothing like seeing a photo, seeing Philae's mothership receding into the distance.

Philae update: "Go" for landing, despite apparent failure of cold-gas jet system [UPDATED]

Emily Lakdawalla • November 12, 2014

Philae is "go" for landing. But there has been drama overnight. One of the steps to prepare for landing did not proceed as planned. UPDATE: At 09:03 UTC, the lander separated from the orbiter, beginning a 7-hour descent to the surface of the comet.

Philae update: First of four "go-no-go" decisions is a GO!

Emily Lakdawalla • November 11, 2014

It's been a day of calm before the storm here at the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, as we get ready for the big event tomorrow: Philae's hoped-for landing on a comet. The first of four "go-no-go" decisions has been made, and it's a "go." Mission navigators have gotten data back from Rosetta that indicates that the spacecraft is on the correct trajectory to deliver Philae to the comet.

Report from Darmstadt: Philae status and early Rosetta results from DPS

Emily Lakdawalla • November 11, 2014

I'm reporting live from the press room at the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany. There's little news on Philae yet except that its status is good. Meanwhile, Rosetta scientists presented their first early comet results at the Division for Planetary Sciences meeting in Tucson, Arizona, which I watched from afar using Twitter.

Philae landing preview: What to expect on landing day

Emily Lakdawalla • November 05, 2014

Earth's first-ever landing on a comet is a week away. On November 12 at 8:35 UT, Philae will separate from Rosetta. Seven hours later, it will arrive at the surface of the comet. Hopefully, Philae will survive the landing, and begin to return data.

A (Difficult) Day in the Solar System

Bill Dunford • October 30, 2014

After a bad day on the launch pad, some perspective.

A feast of comet features from Rosetta at Churyumov-Gerasimenko

Emily Lakdawalla • October 27, 2014

I have been horribly behind in posting images from Rosetta's exploration of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, and that's a shame, because the spacecraft has lately been exploring the comet from a range of only 10 kilometers. From that range, the NavCam gets sub-meter resolution, and we're seeing a menagerie of odd surface features

Rosetta NAVCAM's Shades of Grey

Claudia Mignone • October 27, 2014

What do “light” and “dark” mean for an object like Comet 67P/C-G? Here are some details on how Rosetta's NAVCAM images are taken and displayed to make a wide range of surface features possible.

Mattias Malmer's amazing 3D views of Churyumov-Gerasimenko

Emily Lakdawalla • October 02, 2014

I'm thrilled to be able to share with you all a spectacular set of images of Rosetta's comet, produced from NavCam data by a master space image processing enthusiast.

Philae's landing day announced as Rosetta swings to comet's dark side

Emily Lakdawalla • September 26, 2014

ESA announced today that Philae will be landing on November 12, 2014. What time the landing occurs depends on which landing site they use. If they go to the prime landing site, "site J," Earth should receive word of the successful landing at 16:00 UTC (08:00 PST). If they go to the backup site, "site C," news will reach Earth at about 17:30 UTC (09:30 PST). Mark your calendars!

A Tour of 67P...

Stuart Atkinson • September 23, 2014

Stuart Atkinson takes us on a stunning guided visual tour of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.

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