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  • How Bizarre

    Mysterious circles appear, grow on comet

    A comet is growing its own version of crop circles. Over the course of a month, five expanding disklike depressions appeared on the surface of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in images taken by the Rosetta spacecraft, which has been orbiting 67P since August 2014 (SN: 9/6/14, p. 8).

    The first roundish feature showed up on June 3 and was joined by a second 10 days later. Within a month, the...

    09/28/2015 - 08:00 Planetary Science
  • Science Ticker

    Comet 67P, Rosetta spacecraft cozy up to the sun

    Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko is shooting off brilliant jets of gas and dust as it swings past the sun. With the Rosetta spacecraft in tow, the space rock will make its closest approach to the sun on August 13. Such an intimate encounter is illuminating parts of the comet that have been shrouded in darkness for years and will allow Rosetta to collect data on the chemical composition and...

    08/12/2015 - 17:55 Planetary Science, Astronomy
  • News

    New results from Philae lander offer first close-up of a comet

    During its brief time awake on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the Philae lander documented a diverse world. New analyses of lander data reveal the comet as uniform on the inside, but full of variety on the outside. Pebbles, boulders, cliffs and pits blanket the forbidding landscape. Complex organic molecules float above a surface that is as soft as sand in some places and as hard as rock in...

    07/30/2015 - 14:06 Planetary Science
  • Science Ticker

    Rosetta mission extended until September 2016

    The Rosetta spacecraft’s final resting place could be on the comet it called home for over two years. The mission, which kicked into high gear when the probe started orbiting comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in August 2014, has officially had its funding extended to September 2016, the European Space Agency announced June 23. After that, the spacecraft will be too far from the sun for its solar...

    06/23/2015 - 16:25 Planetary Science
  • Science Ticker

    Comet lander Philae phones home

    Philae has phoned home.

    The robotic lander pinged the European Space Agency on June 13, sending an 85-second transmission that let mission scientists know the lander is ready to go to work again on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

    It has been seven months since the little lander touched down on the comet. Philae went into hibernation not long after, leaving mission scientists...

    06/14/2015 - 09:45 Planetary Science
  • Science Ticker

    Boulders balance on tiny tips as comet 67P zooms through space

    Balanced Rock in Arches National Park in Utah has cousins on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Three boulders — the largest of which is roughly 30 meters across — are barely in contact with the comet’s surface, researchers report May 18 on the Rosetta blog. The resolute rocks showed up in images taken by the Rosetta spacecraft, which has been orbiting comet 67P since August.

    Balancing...

    05/18/2015 - 16:38 Planetary Science
  • News

    Rosetta reveals a complex comet

    It’s time to stop thinking of comets as dirty snowballs. The Rosetta spacecraft’s first look at comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko shows a diverse, complex world, shaped by eruptions and erosion, that may hint at what the solar system was like 4.6 billion years ago.

    A panoply of textures and structures shows that comet 67P is not a loose collection of ice and dust, the prevailing image of...

    01/22/2015 - 14:00 Planetary Science
  • Science Ticker

    Grazing crater rim may have saved comet lander

    Guest post by Andrew Grant

    SAN FRANCISCO — Bumping off the rim of a crater probably saved the robotic comet lander Philae from a cold, dark death, according to data presented December 18 at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union. The lucky break has researchers hopeful that the hibernating lander will eventually receive enough solar power to reawaken.

    On November 12,...

    12/19/2014 - 16:14 Planetary Science
  • News in Brief

    Rosetta may have spotted comet’s primordial ingredients

    SAN FRANCISCO — The dynamic, rugged terrain of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko may be exposing the meter-wide building blocks that make up the comet, scientists reported December 17 at the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting. If confirmed, the finding could give scientists an unprecedented look at pristine samples of the original material that bonded to form comets, asteroids and planets...

    12/18/2014 - 09:47 Planetary Science, Astronomy
  • Feature

    Year in review: Rosetta mission hits its target

    4

    With a hop and a skip, a robot called Philae bounded onto comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, perhaps a bit too eager to explore the alien world.

    The touchdown on November 12, amid cheers and tears on Earth, marked the first time scientists have set a probe on a comet. But the...

    12/17/2014 - 07:00 Planetary Science, Astronomy