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Stuart AtkinsonSeptember 23, 2014

A Tour of 67P...

This article originally appeared on Stuart Atkinson's blog and is reposted here with permission.

Another day and another stunning NAVCAM image (or, more accurately, a mosaic of 4 NAVCAM images) released by ESA...

Rosetta view of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on September 14, 2014

ESA / Rosetta / NavCam

Rosetta view of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on September 14, 2014
Four-image NAVCAM mosaic of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, using images taken on September 14, 2014 when Rosetta was 30 km from the comet.

Oh, that’s a beauty isn’t it? With a bit of sharpening up etc, it looks like this...

Comet 67P, sharpened

ESA / Rosetta / NavCam / Stuart Atkinson

Comet 67P, sharpened
Mosaic of 4 Rosetta NAVCAM images, processed and sharpened by Stuart Atkinson.

Oooh, much more menacing!

But look closely and that image gives us a great new view of some of the comet’s most interesting features – its cliffs, craters and peaks...

Context for close-up images

ESA / Rosetta / NavCam / Stuart Atkinson

Context for close-up images

No doubt these have all been imaged in jaw-dropping detail by the OSIRIS cameras, but as the OSIRIS team clearly have no intention of showing the rest of the world those images, I thought I’d get stuck into today’s image release, isolate those features and show them a bit more clearly, hopefully bringing the landscapes of 67P to life a little bit more in the process. Anyway, click on the following images to enlarge them and see what you think.

Love this first one, looks like a fortress on the top of a mountain...VERY Middle Earth...

Rosetta NavCam 67P Sep 14, 2014 detail #1

More intriguing spires...

Rosetta NavCam 67P Sep 14, 2014 detail #2

Incredibly varied landscape, with a huge crater and strange, sculpted peaks and spires nearby...

Rosetta NavCam 67P Sep 14, 2014 detail #3

My eyes keep being drawn to these incredible cliffs which fall away from a broad, boulder-strewn plateau...Remember, this was Landing Site Candidate A...

Rosetta NavCam 67P Sep 14, 2014 detail #4

Just look at that great gaping crater...would anyone really be surprised if a Star Wars space worm leapt out of that, snapping at ROSETTA..?

Rosetta NavCam 67P Sep 14, 2014 detail #5

What intrigued me about this area was that it looked pretty flat and dusty on the original image, but when enhanced and sharpened up a LOT of detail jumps out at you...

Rosetta NavCam 67P Sep 14, 2014 detail #6

These are the mighty cliffs which surround the largest crater seen on 67P, which is close to the area selected to be Philae’s landing site in November. But panic not, they are on the opposite side of the crater to Site J, so as scary looking as they are they shouldn’t really pose much of a threat to little Philae.

Rosetta NavCam 67P Sep 14, 2014 detail #7

...and finally, just look at this boulder.. it has other chunks of rock embedded in it...! :-)

Rosetta NavCam 67P Sep 14, 2014 detail #8

I hope you enjoyed the tour! I know those portraits of some of the surface highlights of 67P are not perfect, but they’ll have to do until we get to see those OSIRIS images... :-)

Read more: Rosetta and Philae, pretty pictures, comets, data art (was amateur image processing), comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko, full-globe view

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Stuart Atkinson

space enthusiast and amateur astronomer
Read more articles by Stuart Atkinson

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