Space

Huge release of Rosetta images paints a spooky picture of comet's rugged landscape

Huge release of Rosetta images...
The newly released photos were taken as the Philae lander plunged toward to comet's surface and in the days immediately after
The newly released photos were taken as the Philae lander plunged toward to comet's surface and in the days immediately after
View 52 Images
The hoard of new images offers a look at the terrain of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from exciting new angles
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The hoard of new images offers a look at the terrain of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from exciting new angles
The latest set of images present harsh cliff edges cutting into the blackness of space, large boulders and rolling rocky hills that fade into smooth, dusty plains
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The latest set of images present harsh cliff edges cutting into the blackness of space, large boulders and rolling rocky hills that fade into smooth, dusty plains
The newly released photos were taken as the Philae lander plunged toward to comet's surface and in the days immediately after
3/52
The newly released photos were taken as the Philae lander plunged toward to comet's surface and in the days immediately after
The hoard of new images offers a look at the terrain of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from exciting new angles
4/52
The hoard of new images offers a look at the terrain of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from exciting new angles
The latest set of images present harsh cliff edges cutting into the blackness of space, large boulders and rolling rocky hills that fade into smooth, dusty plains
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The latest set of images present harsh cliff edges cutting into the blackness of space, large boulders and rolling rocky hills that fade into smooth, dusty plains
The newly released photos were taken as the Philae lander plunged toward to comet's surface and in the days immediately after
6/52
The newly released photos were taken as the Philae lander plunged toward to comet's surface and in the days immediately after
The hoard of new images offers a look at the terrain of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from exciting new angles
7/52
The hoard of new images offers a look at the terrain of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from exciting new angles
The latest set of images present harsh cliff edges cutting into the blackness of space, large boulders and rolling rocky hills that fade into smooth, dusty plains
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The latest set of images present harsh cliff edges cutting into the blackness of space, large boulders and rolling rocky hills that fade into smooth, dusty plains
The newly released photos were taken as the Philae lander plunged toward to comet's surface and in the days immediately after
9/52
The newly released photos were taken as the Philae lander plunged toward to comet's surface and in the days immediately after
The hoard of new images offers a look at the terrain of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from exciting new angles
10/52
The hoard of new images offers a look at the terrain of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from exciting new angles
The latest set of images present harsh cliff edges cutting into the blackness of space, large boulders and rolling rocky hills that fade into smooth, dusty plains
11/52
The latest set of images present harsh cliff edges cutting into the blackness of space, large boulders and rolling rocky hills that fade into smooth, dusty plains
The newly released photos were taken as the Philae lander plunged toward to comet's surface and in the days immediately after
12/52
The newly released photos were taken as the Philae lander plunged toward to comet's surface and in the days immediately after
The hoard of new images offers a look at the terrain of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from exciting new angles
13/52
The hoard of new images offers a look at the terrain of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from exciting new angles
The latest set of images present harsh cliff edges cutting into the blackness of space, large boulders and rolling rocky hills that fade into smooth, dusty plains
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The latest set of images present harsh cliff edges cutting into the blackness of space, large boulders and rolling rocky hills that fade into smooth, dusty plains
The newly released photos were taken as the Philae lander plunged toward to comet's surface and in the days immediately after
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The newly released photos were taken as the Philae lander plunged toward to comet's surface and in the days immediately after
The hoard of new images offers a look at the terrain of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from exciting new angles
16/52
The hoard of new images offers a look at the terrain of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from exciting new angles
The latest set of images present harsh cliff edges cutting into the blackness of space, large boulders and rolling rocky hills that fade into smooth, dusty plains
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The latest set of images present harsh cliff edges cutting into the blackness of space, large boulders and rolling rocky hills that fade into smooth, dusty plains
The newly released photos were taken as the Philae lander plunged toward to comet's surface and in the days immediately after
18/52
The newly released photos were taken as the Philae lander plunged toward to comet's surface and in the days immediately after
The hoard of new images offers a look at the terrain of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from exciting new angles
19/52
The hoard of new images offers a look at the terrain of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from exciting new angles
The latest set of images present harsh cliff edges cutting into the blackness of space, large boulders and rolling rocky hills that fade into smooth, dusty plains
20/52
The latest set of images present harsh cliff edges cutting into the blackness of space, large boulders and rolling rocky hills that fade into smooth, dusty plains
The newly released photos were taken as the Philae lander plunged toward to comet's surface and in the days immediately after
21/52
The newly released photos were taken as the Philae lander plunged toward to comet's surface and in the days immediately after
The hoard of new images offers a look at the terrain of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from exciting new angles
22/52
The hoard of new images offers a look at the terrain of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from exciting new angles
The latest set of images present harsh cliff edges cutting into the blackness of space, large boulders and rolling rocky hills that fade into smooth, dusty plains
23/52
The latest set of images present harsh cliff edges cutting into the blackness of space, large boulders and rolling rocky hills that fade into smooth, dusty plains
The newly released photos were taken as the Philae lander plunged toward to comet's surface and in the days immediately after
24/52
The newly released photos were taken as the Philae lander plunged toward to comet's surface and in the days immediately after
The hoard of new images offers a look at the terrain of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from exciting new angles
25/52
The hoard of new images offers a look at the terrain of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from exciting new angles
The latest set of images present harsh cliff edges cutting into the blackness of space, large boulders and rolling rocky hills that fade into smooth, dusty plains
26/52
The latest set of images present harsh cliff edges cutting into the blackness of space, large boulders and rolling rocky hills that fade into smooth, dusty plains
The newly released photos were taken as the Philae lander plunged toward to comet's surface and in the days immediately after
27/52
The newly released photos were taken as the Philae lander plunged toward to comet's surface and in the days immediately after
The hoard of new images offers a look at the terrain of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from exciting new angles
28/52
The hoard of new images offers a look at the terrain of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from exciting new angles
The latest set of images present harsh cliff edges cutting into the blackness of space, large boulders and rolling rocky hills that fade into smooth, dusty plains
29/52
The latest set of images present harsh cliff edges cutting into the blackness of space, large boulders and rolling rocky hills that fade into smooth, dusty plains
The newly released photos were taken as the Philae lander plunged toward to comet's surface and in the days immediately after
30/52
The newly released photos were taken as the Philae lander plunged toward to comet's surface and in the days immediately after
The hoard of new images offers a look at the terrain of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from exciting new angles
31/52
The hoard of new images offers a look at the terrain of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from exciting new angles
The latest set of images present harsh cliff edges cutting into the blackness of space, large boulders and rolling rocky hills that fade into smooth, dusty plains
32/52
The latest set of images present harsh cliff edges cutting into the blackness of space, large boulders and rolling rocky hills that fade into smooth, dusty plains
The newly released photos were taken as the Philae lander plunged toward to comet's surface and in the days immediately after
33/52
The newly released photos were taken as the Philae lander plunged toward to comet's surface and in the days immediately after
The hoard of new images offers a look at the terrain of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from exciting new angles
34/52
The hoard of new images offers a look at the terrain of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from exciting new angles
The latest set of images present harsh cliff edges cutting into the blackness of space, large boulders and rolling rocky hills that fade into smooth, dusty plains
35/52
The latest set of images present harsh cliff edges cutting into the blackness of space, large boulders and rolling rocky hills that fade into smooth, dusty plains
The newly released photos were taken as the Philae lander plunged toward to comet's surface and in the days immediately after
36/52
The newly released photos were taken as the Philae lander plunged toward to comet's surface and in the days immediately after
The hoard of new images offers a look at the terrain of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from exciting new angles
37/52
The hoard of new images offers a look at the terrain of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from exciting new angles
The latest set of images present harsh cliff edges cutting into the blackness of space, large boulders and rolling rocky hills that fade into smooth, dusty plains
38/52
The latest set of images present harsh cliff edges cutting into the blackness of space, large boulders and rolling rocky hills that fade into smooth, dusty plains
The newly released photos were taken as the Philae lander plunged toward to comet's surface and in the days immediately after
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The newly released photos were taken as the Philae lander plunged toward to comet's surface and in the days immediately after
The hoard of new images offers a look at the terrain of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from exciting new angles
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The hoard of new images offers a look at the terrain of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from exciting new angles
The latest set of images present harsh cliff edges cutting into the blackness of space, large boulders and rolling rocky hills that fade into smooth, dusty plains
41/52
The latest set of images present harsh cliff edges cutting into the blackness of space, large boulders and rolling rocky hills that fade into smooth, dusty plains
The newly released photos were taken as the Philae lander plunged toward to comet's surface and in the days immediately after
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The newly released photos were taken as the Philae lander plunged toward to comet's surface and in the days immediately after
The hoard of new images offers a look at the terrain of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from exciting new angles
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The hoard of new images offers a look at the terrain of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from exciting new angles
The latest set of images present harsh cliff edges cutting into the blackness of space, large boulders and rolling rocky hills that fade into smooth, dusty plains
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The latest set of images present harsh cliff edges cutting into the blackness of space, large boulders and rolling rocky hills that fade into smooth, dusty plains
The newly released photos were taken as the Philae lander plunged toward to comet's surface and in the days immediately after
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The newly released photos were taken as the Philae lander plunged toward to comet's surface and in the days immediately after
The hoard of new images offers a look at the terrain of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from exciting new angles
46/52
The hoard of new images offers a look at the terrain of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from exciting new angles
The latest set of images present harsh cliff edges cutting into the blackness of space, large boulders and rolling rocky hills that fade into smooth, dusty plains
47/52
The latest set of images present harsh cliff edges cutting into the blackness of space, large boulders and rolling rocky hills that fade into smooth, dusty plains
The newly released photos were taken as the Philae lander plunged toward to comet's surface and in the days immediately after
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The newly released photos were taken as the Philae lander plunged toward to comet's surface and in the days immediately after
The hoard of new images offers a look at the terrain of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from exciting new angles
49/52
The hoard of new images offers a look at the terrain of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from exciting new angles
The latest set of images present harsh cliff edges cutting into the blackness of space, large boulders and rolling rocky hills that fade into smooth, dusty plains
50/52
The latest set of images present harsh cliff edges cutting into the blackness of space, large boulders and rolling rocky hills that fade into smooth, dusty plains
The newly released photos were taken as the Philae lander plunged toward to comet's surface and in the days immediately after
51/52
The newly released photos were taken as the Philae lander plunged toward to comet's surface and in the days immediately after
The hoard of new images offers a look at the terrain of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from exciting new angles
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The hoard of new images offers a look at the terrain of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from exciting new angles

Around seven months after the European Space Agency's Rosetta probe made history by deploying its Philae lander onto the surface 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, an expansive catalogue of images has been released providing an up-close look at the comet's rugged landscape. The photos were snapped by Rosetta's NavCam between September and November last year, as the spacecraft came as close as 8 km (5 mi) from the surface.

The image library published online last week totals 1,776 photos. These were taken as the Philae lander plunged toward to comet's surface and in the days immediately after.

This wouldn't be the Rosetta spacecraft's closest encounter with 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, with a flyby in February bringing it as close as 6 km (3.7 mi) to the surface, where it grabbed images of the Imhotep region, revealing huge rocks and jagged landscapes broken up by flatter areas covered in dust.

The swathe of new images offers a look at the terrain from innumerable new angles, presenting harsh cliff edges cutting into the blackness of space, large boulders and rolling rocky hills that fade into smooth, dusty plains. The collection paints a rather eerie picture of this far away alien landscape.

The hoard of new images offers a look at the terrain of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from exciting new angles
The hoard of new images offers a look at the terrain of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from exciting new angles

Rosetta departed from Earth in 2004 and entered orbit around 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko last August. This journey included three flybys of Earth and one of Mars, before heading out past Jupiter and picking up enough speed to catch up to the comet. On November 12 last year, its Philae lander touched down, making history as the first spacecraft to perform a soft landing on a comet's surface.

Unfortunately a landing malfunction brought the probe down where sunlight couldn't reach its solar panels to provide power, leaving both the spacecraft and mission control in the dark once its battery's were exhausted. Attempts to re-establish contact with the lander have been unsuccessful, though the ESA holds hopes that as it comes closer to the Sun it will be able to draw enough solar power to boot up again and continue its exploration of the comet.

In the meantime, you can have a flick through the gallery to acquaint yourself with Philae's haunting new home.

Source: ESA

11 comments
Wolf0579
It wasn't so much a "plunge" towards the comet... it was likely more of a gentle floating "down" to the surface.
Robert Fallin
Really looks like a "dirty snowball," does it not? Maybe now astronomers will FINALLY acknowledge the "electric universe" theory.
Firehawk70
I wish I knew what the scale is for some of these. I can't tell if what I'm looking at is 5 feet tall, 50 feet tall, or 1/2 mile wide.
Les.B.
"This ain't the kind of place to raise your kids In fact it's cold as hell And there's no one there to raise them if you did"
GregMcMahan
Insert a common object in some of these photos so we get a sense of scale... a truck, office building, airline jet, whatever is appropriate.
Leonard
Cool pics! Looks to be some photo shop?
OzricThorncroft
Pretty much what I would have imagined. Except it needs a rose in a glass jar and a little prince...
MK23666
Actually it does look like a dirty snowball, or better yet it looks like the crap left over after the snowplow has piled a mass of snow, salt and sand somewhere to melt away on it's own.
mach37
I'm with GregM. and Firehawk - what scales and distances are involved here?
SpikeSnell
Relax with Philae and sleep to the comets ambient EM "sound": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2i3aqPqTZbo