Comet, Ahoy!

The Rosetta spacecraft is awake and getting closer and closer to its target, comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. And now it has sent back its first resolved images of the comet. Check it out!

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Credits: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

Okay, yes, it is still a bit of a pixelated blob. Being resolved doesn’t necessarily mean that it has very good resolution this yet. However, it fills just enough pixels to see the comet rotate over the course of 12.4 hours.

Rosetta is nearing the end of its circuitous, ten-year journey to study the asteroid up close. The spacecraft includes the first lander for a comet, and Rosetta will be the first spacecraft to orbit a comet. We’ve had up close views of several comets before, but not a long-term visitor. Just as we learned so much more from an extended visit by Dawn to Vesta, we hope to learn quite a bit more about the icy travelers of our Solar System.

UPDATE: Thanks to Carlos Neves for pointing out that there is Rosetta photo contest going on right now! Check it out.

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