Monday, August 18, 2014

ESA Rosetta: Comet 67/P Surface Variations

Image of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko shows the diversity of surface structures on the comet's nucleus. Image courtesy ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM.

Credit: ESA

A new image of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko shows the diversity of surface structures on the comet's nucleus. It was taken by the Rosetta spacecraft's OSIRIS narrow-angle camera on August 7, 2014.

At the time, the spacecraft was 65 miles (104 kilometers) away from the 2.5-mile-wide (4-kilometer) nucleus.

In the image, the comet's head (in the top half of the image) exhibits parallel linear features that resemble cliffs, and its neck displays scattered boulders on a relatively smooth, slumping surface.

In comparison, the comet's body (lower half of the image) seems to exhibit a multi-variable terrain with peaks and valleys, and both smooth and rough topographic features.

A 3-D version of the image is shown below

This anaglyph image of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko can be viewed using stereoscopic glasses with red–green/blue filters.

The two images used to make the anaglyph were taken on 7 August 2014 from a distance of 104 kilometres with Rosetta's OSIRIS narrow-angle camera

They are separated by 17 minutes.

Credits: ESA /Rosetta /MPS for OSIRIS Team

Launched in March 2004, Rosetta was reactivated in January 2014 after a record 957 days in hibernation.

Rosetta's OSIRIS narrow-angle camera
Composed of an orbiter and lander, Rosetta's objectives are to study comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko up close in unprecedented detail, prepare for landing a probe on the comet's nucleus in November, and track its changes as it sweeps past the sun.

Comets are time capsules containing primitive material left over from the epoch when the sun and its planets formed.

Rosetta's lander will obtain the first images taken from a comet's surface and will provide the first analysis of a comet's composition by drilling into the surface.

Rosetta also will be the first spacecraft to witness at close proximity how a comet changes as it is subjected to the increasing intensity of the sun's radiation.

Observations will help scientists learn more about the origin and evolution of our solar system, and the role comets may have played in seeding Earth with water.

No comments:

Post a Comment