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  • Science Visualized

    See a new mosaic of images of comet 67P from the Rosetta mission

    A year after the Rosetta spacecraft’s rendezvous with comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko came to an end, the views are still stunning. This montage, released in September by the European Space Agency, includes 210 of the thousands of images taken by Rosetta and the Philae lander and recaps the daring mission to explore the space rock. The images are arranged chronologically (starting at the top...

    11/03/2017 - 07:00 Planetary Science, Astronomy
  • News in Brief

    Comet 67P cracking under pressure

    PASADENA, Calif. — It’s hard being a comet sometimes. Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is developing stress fractures and might break apart in the next several hundred years.

    Comet 67P is famous for its oddball shape. With two lobes joined together at a neck, it vaguely resembles an interplanetary peanut. The Rosetta spacecraft, which ended its 26-month visit to the comet in September (SN...

    10/18/2016 - 15:00 Planetary Science
  • Science Ticker

    Rosetta spacecraft lands on comet, ends mission

    Rosetta is no more. The comet orbiter touched down on the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko at 7:19 a.m. Eastern and immediately shut down, bringing to an end a nearly 26-month mission in orbit around the comet.

    “I hereby declare mission operations ended,” said Rosetta mission manager Patrick Martin. The landing site has been dubbed Sais, the ancient Egyptian town believed to be...

    09/30/2016 - 08:19 Planetary Science
  • News in Brief

    Rosetta spacecraft ends mission

    Rosetta is no more. On September 30, the orbiter touched down on the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko and immediately shut down, bringing an end to the mission.

    The landing site has been dubbed Sais, the ancient Egyptian town believed to be the original home of the Rosetta stone, after which the mission is named.

    Confirmation came from a planned loss of radio signal from...

    09/30/2016 - 08:19 Planetary Science
  • News

    So long, Rosetta: End is near for comet orbiter

    Rosetta is about to take its final bow.

    On September 30, the comet orbiter will wrap up its nearly 26-month visit to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko by touching down on the surface and then shutting down. Before sending its last signal to Earth, Rosetta will snap pictures and gather data all the way to the end, collecting some of the most detailed looks ever at a comet.

    “Every time...

    09/29/2016 - 05:30 Planetary Science
  • News in Brief

    Philae lander spotted on comet 67P

    Philae has been found, nestled in a shadowy crevice on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The comet lander, lost since its tumultuous touchdown on the comet on November 12, 2014, turned up in images taken by the Rosetta orbiter on September 2.

    Philae is on its side with one leg sticking out into sunlight. Its cockeyed posture probably made it difficult for Philae to reliably get in touch...

    09/06/2016 - 12:55 Planetary Science
  • Science Ticker

    Rosetta spots Philae lander on surface of comet 67P

    Philae has been found, nestled in a shadowy crevice on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The comet lander, lost since its tumultuous touch down on the comet on November 12, 2014, turned up in images taken by the Rosetta orbiter on September 2. Philae is on its side with one leg sticking out into sunlight. Its cockeyed posture most likely made it difficult for Philae to reliably get in touch...

    09/06/2016 - 12:33 Planetary Science
  • Science Ticker

    Rosetta spacecraft has stopped listening for Philae lander

    It’s time for a final farewell to the comet lander Philae.

    The European Space Agency announced that on July 27 it would shut off the equipment that the Rosetta spacecraft uses to listen in on communications from Philae. The lander, which touched down on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in November 2014, briefly transmitted data before entering a deep slumber.

    Except for a brief...

    07/27/2016 - 14:30 Planetary Science
  • News

    Time running out on comet lander

    Time is running out for the Philae comet lander. The latest attempts to communicate with the probe have failed. And with temperatures plummeting as the comet races from the sun, it will soon be too cold for the robotic explorer to keep its computer running.

    On January 10, engineers sent a command to spin Philae’s reaction wheel, which helped stabilize the lander during its descent. They...

    01/20/2016 - 15:03 Planetary Science
  • News

    67P reveals recipe for a comet

    To make one oddly shaped comet, take two smaller comets and squish them together. That probably explains why comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko looks like a rubber duck, a new study reports.

    Since the Rosetta spacecraft’s arrival last August (SN: 9/6/14, p. 8), researchers have debated whether 67P was a comet that lost some weight around its waistline or two comets that got a little too...

    09/28/2015 - 10:42 Planetary Science