Cyber Tuesday Spaceprobe Deal

For two days only, buy one of our limited edition Robotic Spacecraft Series Prints and get the full suite of vinyl stickers for free. This is a total savings of $24 and would serve as a great stocking stuffer to follow the presentation of the print.

The Surface of a Comet

This was the view from Rosetta’s Philae lander when it came to rest upon Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. What is shown is one of the landers feet (bottom center) and a very craggy surface beyond. After bouncing 3-4 times, scientists assume that Philae finally came to rest set precariously upon an uneven surface. Despite these images and images taken from Rosetta orbiting above — they have yet to find exactly where the lander has settled.

Shown above is the small journey Rosetta took before resting in a spot that has yet to be defined. Clearly shown are the mid-bounce images of the probe as it tumbled to its destination. Soon after these events the probe went silent due to a lack of power source: sunlight. It is thought that the probe may be covered in comet dust or simply sitting in a semi-permanently shaded spot unable to wake up.

On the bright side, even if this is all we hear from Philae — the mission is considered a successful landing as it did manage to transmit data and images from the surface. On an even brighter side… Mission specialists say that as the comet gets nearer to the sun and parts of whatever is hiding the probe melts away, could expose it’s starving solar panels and wake the probe up again renewed. Meaning that we could hear again from the small lander come this August.

Kickstarter Project Coming Oct 2

Our new Kickstarter campaign will be live in a few days. Above are a few of the celestial assets illustrated for the animation/video we are producing for the campaign page.

Two Amazing Images of Comet 67P/CG

A new imager turning out some impressive work on the Rosetta mission has popped up on flickr. These are not only gorgeous, but are the first color images I have seen of the comet thus far. Check out 2di7 & titanio44’s image feed and see not only more color images of the comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko, but also great work done at Mars and Saturn as well.

Image Notes: The original of the first image above can be seen here. What is posted here was cleaned up a bit by and is not intended for scientific use. We did the best to represent what is in the original, but telling the difference between what might have been boulders and what was image noise is hard to determine. Also, the jets were reprocessed and altered to appear smooth in this final version. More on the color below.

Image Notes: According to the imagers, there have been no filtered images released as of this date of Comet 67P/CG. Which means that the color above is artistic interpretation. Strikingly real looking, but still just a make-shift approach to consider what the color might be before any real data on color has been released by ESA.

Rosetta Selfie

With the term “selfie” trending the way it is in popular culture… it was wise for the people at ESA to try a robotic interplanetary version. This image was shot by the Philae lander (still attached to Rosetta) staring down one of Rosetta’s solar panels looking at comet 67P/C-G in not-too-far-off distance.

Worth noting this similarly happened here at Mars in 2007.

When It’s a Jet, It’s a Jet All the Way

Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko (aka CG-67P) is showing the early formation of it’s jets. Those jets are what cause the formation of the most distinguishing characteristic of any comet — it’s tail. The Rosetta spacecraft is currently in orbit about the comet and it is assumed that as the pair orbit closer to the sun, these jets will become much more active and should provide quite a show for us. The Rosetta team has also recently shared the potential landing sites for it’s Philae Lander in November shown here.

This image was brought to the world by Emily Lackdawalla’s Planetary Blog.

Blacker Than Asphalt

Rosetta has officially arrived at 67P/CG and here is today’s look. These images have apparently been brightened considerably as the comet is supposedly darker than fresh asphalt. It would be good to see what that actually looks like, perhaps something will surface.

Image from 130km. Each pixel is about 2.4 meters.

Rosetta Nearing Target 67P (That’s a Comet)

This mission is just not getting enough public attention. Launched in 2004, the mission has already flown by Mars and two minor asteroids 2867 Šteins in 2008, and of 21 Lutetia in 2010. However, the real target of the mission is coming this week… a comet with the unforgivable name 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. Rosetta will go into orbit around the comet and observe it for the coming months as it nears the Sun which will cause it to start acting more like a comet and forming the familiar tail. As if that were not enough, a small lander named Philae will attempt to land and attach itself to the comet in November.

Check Out Kurzgesagt

Especially if you have kids with an appreciation for science. These guys regularly do great animations that explain complex science — appropriate for all ages. They also promise a series of cool videos about cool moons in our solar system. So far they have only covered our own, next up… Mars’ Deimos and Phobos.

Now That is a Comet

Deep Impact (now known as the Epoxi Mission) passes by comet Hartley 2 and takes the best images of an active comet that I have seen. Too many jets to count on the recently released set of images from closest approach. Apparently there is a huge number of higher resolution images still to come.