Here’s looking at you: Final Rosetta photo shows rocky comet

By on September 30, 2017


Illustration of Rosetta and Philae at the comet (Photo By European Space Agency - Rosetta and Philae at comet, CC BY-SA 3.0-igo)
Illustration of Rosetta and Philae at the comet (Photo By European Space Agency – Rosetta and Philae at comet, CC BY-SA 3.0-igo)

BERLIN — The European Space Agency says scientists have pieced together a final image of a comet’s surface taken by its Rosetta probe just before its mission ended in a slow-motion crash a year ago.

ESA guided Rosetta to the surface of comet
67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on Sept. 30 last year, ending its 12-year
mission. Rosetta had previously sent a separate lander to the
surface and collected vast amounts of data.

The agency said Thursday that scientists have worked with the very last data Rosetta sent to piece together a final image of the touchdown site, showing details of the rocky surface.

Scientists decided to crash-land the probe on the comet because Rosetta’s solar panels wouldn’t have been able to collect enough energy as it flew away from the sun along 67P’s elliptical orbit.