Reaching 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko with Rosetta was an incredible feat of science and engineering that has revolutionized how we understand comets, but the fact is that the orbiter and its Philae partner are just entering the interesting part of their mission. Join us as we take a look at what can be expected as Rosetta travels ever closer to the Sun.
The Rosetta spacecraft appears to have discovered the presence of a
series of sinkholes on the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko
(67P). They're responsible for some of the increasingly active gas
streams that are being observed by the orbiter as the comet speeds
ESA has announced that its Rosetta comet orbiter mission will be extended by nine months. The unmanned spacecraft that rendezvoused with comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko last year will carry out further observations until September 2016, by which time it will be too far from the Sun to power itself and will land on the comet.
After seven months of hibernation and dwindling hopes, the European Space Agency has announced that its unmanned Philae comet lander has reestablished contact with the Rosetta mothership and mission control. The European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt received the first signals on Saturday at 22:28 CEST, indicating that the lander has warmed up and charged its batteries sufficiently to return to active duty.
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 from the surface.