Postcards from Rosetta

The images confirm it: Rosetta has now really arrived at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko! Holger Sierks from the OSIRIS team just presented two new views of the comet in stunning close up detail at the afternoon session of the Rosetta arrival event at ESOC, in Darmstadt.


Close-up detail of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Credits: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

This image, focusing on a smooth region on the ‘base’ of the ‘body’ section of comet 67P/C-G, was taken by Rosetta’s OSIRIS narrow-angle camera and downloaded today, 6 August 2014.

The image clearly shows a range of features, including boulders, craters and steep cliffs. It was taken from a distance of 130 km and the image resolution is 2.4 metres per pixel.

Another close-up detail shows the comet’s ‘head’ at the left of the frame, which is casting shadow onto the ‘neck’ and ‘body’ to the right. This image was taken from a distance of 120 km and the image resolution is 2.2 metres per pixel.


Another close-up view of the comet. Credits: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

More on the latest “postcards” from Rosetta here (including higher resolution versions of the images released earlier today).



  • Antonio Gutierrez says:

    What an accomplishment! Congratulation to the whole team!

    Are there loose stones or boulders in the surface? I would have thought that having such a small gravitational force there would not be stones or loose material resting on the surface of the comet.

    • John H says:

      There was a study done that shows that small impacts have a similar effect to shaking a bag of granola, causing larger stones to rise while the finer debris goes lower.

  • Rusnak says:

    Great, the best images of comet, good work rosetta..

  • Marc says:

    Congratulations to the complete Rosetta/Philae Project team, ESA and NASA ! I remember the day I was watching Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon. It left a lifetime impression. I regard this achievement as equally important and the same size of step forward for mankind. I am very happy to have been able to witness these both events. Awesome !!!!!! I am looking forward to the landing event and hope it will succeed as well.

  • Well done!
    We should move rocks of this size to store energy on earth.

  • Dan Owen says:

    Is there any video footage, a color map, elevation map or 3D model?

  • Frank Cross says:

    Totally brilliant achievement. And all executed in a completely Newtonian world – apart from the ticking of the clock. It seems a long time ago that Rosetta was mistaken for a meteorite on one if its gravity assist passes of Earth. Well, no-one can mistake what’s happening now!

  • Gianfranco D'ELIA says:

    OH MY GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!
    THANKS ROSETTA!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jim says:

    This freakin’ rocks!!!! Congratulations ESA from the USA!!! Why this isn’t the top story on EVERY news site is beyond me!!! Keep the pictures coming!!!

  • sixthousand says:

    posted from the future? (6/8/2014)

  • Richard Berry says:

    Marvelous array of new terrain types and surface morphologies! Congratulations at the beginning of your mission…

  • Birgit Hofmann says:

    Absolut genial!
    CONGRATULATION missionteam !

  • Sergio says:

    Hello, I don’t know how to to say THANK YOU, GRACIAS, DANKE, MERCI, GRAZZIE, EFARISTO and all the other ones 🙂 to the technicians and engineers that made this possible, to ESA for the broadcast, to the blog article writters, but realy those last weeks were amazing and today was just a dream.

    You have so much ahead of you in term of challenges.

    Please continue to share with us so we can be part of the adventure.

    CONGRATULATIONS for the great job.


  • joe I says:

    To be able to post something here and now is an honour- An absolutely amazing achievement.
    Well done to all involved – cant wait to see what else this mission might show.
    And what a strange thing a comet is!

  • raymundo dionicio says:

    Doesn’t look
    that much

    This core
    is really interesting.

  • raymundo dionicio says:

    how a rain drop forms
    around a “seed”

    Is it possible
    that comets contain
    a “seed”?

  • raymundo dionicio says:

    radar mapping
    in next mission…


  • Pete Williams says:

    I’ve just woken up and grabbed my iPad Air, alas no new photo’s …but I can’t help not pouring over these again and again. It’s said that comets and asteroids are the left overs of the solar system and these photo’s look exactly like that…they look like a builders yard full of ‘stuff’ that hasn’t been used…yet!
    AND what’s that meandering ribbon, an ancient river bed or something more mundane…the wheel tracks of a rover from another species? 😉

  • Patman says:

    Right up there with the greatest human achievements. Thank you team! I too watched Armstrong walk on the moon. Would that Jules Verne and all the great visionaries and scientists who have come before could see this. Magic.

  • Patman says:

    Right up there with the greatest human achievements. Thank you team! I too watched Armstrong walk on thee moon. Would that Jules Verne and all the great visionaries and scientists who have come before could see this. Magic of the highest order.

  • Carlos de Armas Rodríguez says:

    are those strangers marks the signature of the creator of the comet?

    • Andrew says:

      Fantastic job – the genius of orbiting an ultrafast moving object – when the impossible become likely is humanity’s creativity at its best.

      Did you catch the 3 faces in the images. Look at the BBC video footage and pause at 11 seconds. They are are at 10 o’clock in relation to the smooth area of surface on the site.

  • Henry Combrinck says:

    Staggering achievement. Well done!!!!!!!!!

  • Fred says:

    How can sllight depressions like those in the plane on the first postcard (2) originate at such a low gravitational force
    Water flows ? Not evaporated instantaniously in vacuum ?

  • Fred says:

    I expect a “dusty” landing of Philae ….. if ‘she’ (island in the Nile near Thebe/Luxor in ancient Egypt) can make it at all …. stay fixxed there may become the problem ….

    Like everybody else , I hope for the best …..

  • Gerrit says:

    ( Watch this video at 1:03 and find the similarity … ) That “signature” on postcard 1 looks like the dustfield is breaking apart, due to gravitational(?) forces, similar to a snow avalanche of very loose snow. Or it’s a cracked icefield below the dustfield.

  • Ian Gordon says:

    Just amazing. Every time I see another of these images, I think about the skill, thoughtfulness and hard work which has gone in to this whole endeavour – truly inspirational. ‘Well done’ to all involved.

    I remember being in ESOC (with my son) for the landing of ‘Huygens’ on Titan. Fabulous atmosphere + great group of people at ESA. Global cooperation at its very finest.

  • Hilmar_Sejr says:

    What type of flag will Philae be planting on 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko?
    I presume it’ll be claimed for Europe for all eternity.

  • RexTIII says:

    Superb – This is so exciting!

Comments are closed.