Here comes the lander!

Shortly before Philae’s touchdown on Comet 67P/C-G, the lander’s down-looking descent camera, ROLIS, imaged the surface of the comet:


ROLIS descent image of Comet 67P/C-G. Credits: ESA/Rosetta/Philae/ROLIS/DLR

The image shows was acquired during descent on 12 November 2014 at 14:38:41 UT, from a distance of approximately 3 km from the surface. The landing site is imaged with a resolution of about 3m per pixel.

The ROLIS instrument is a down-looking imager that acquires images during the descent and doubles as a multispectral close-up camera after the landing. The aim of the ROLIS experiment is to study the texture and microstructure of the comet’s surface.

In the upper right corner a segment of the Philae landing gear is visible.


ROLIS (ROsetta Lander Imaging System) is a descent and close-up camera on the Philae Lander. It has been developed by the DLR Institute of Planetary Research, Berlin.



  • AndreH says:

    Great picture! Any news on the anchors?

  • Peter Morgan says:

    Transmission of this image to Rosetta was before or after landing? How much is data transmission to/from Philae compromised by problems immediately after landing (best case data rate, actual data rate at present)?

    • Cometstalker says:

      The link from lander to orbiter is under millisecond delay ( 300m per micro second). The speed of orbiter to lander link is no limit as signal to noise ratio is high as it is within eyesight and a lousy 100 mW transceiver is an overkill for this purpose, I’m sure its better then this, the orbiter has storage capacity and the earth downlink is streaming a lot slower but continuously. It is possible to take a picture 10 m from the surface and start the downlink before reached 9 m altitude. I hope this is a sufficient answer.

    • Ekkehard Kührt says:

      The image was taken before landing (during the descent).

  • Whitt Birnie says:

    Super sight and site. Looking forward to future pics.

  • Congratulations at all!! Great Job!!

    See us in Comet 67P/C-G : )

  • Tomasz says:

    Gratulujemy udanego lądowania i życzymy owocnych badań 🙂
    Congratulations on safe landing and wish you successful research 🙂

  • Cometstalker says:

    Shortly at 1 m/s from 3000 m is a lot of time to get pictures that are better then we had before, this is a very annoying fact that has been buggering us for months now.

    Do explain the reason, in an honest way, why it is not possible to display images with high detail recognition!

    The giant step is still in the air, and its time to make a deep impact mark in the soil.

    • hank says:

      > why it is not possible to display images with high detail …?

      I’m just a reader here, but I can guess — bandwidth.

      And of that bandwidth, how much do you think they dedicate to providing you with instant high definition imagery? As compared to for example the landing leg sensors, and all the other instruments that are concurrently operating?

      Several people who actually know something about this have answered these question already; see the search results.

      And congratulations to everyone who’s made this happen.
      This is a bit of the future I was hoping to grow up to live in.

      • Cometstalker says:

        The Rosetta to Earth link is another issue far from the same situation as the Rosetta to Philae link. the distance difference is 5E11m to 1E5m = 5E6 then square this to 2.5E13 and realise why there is an enormous difference. Due to this the 35 m dishes on earth help a bit to get the signal at all.

      • Cometstalker says:

        If one megabyte of an image from 50 kilometer is transferred or if the one megabyte image is from a 50 meter object please tell me how this affects the transmission rate and bandwidth limit. Please reply with something that i can learn from.

    • AndreH says:

      cometstalker: The team has been working for 24 hours or more. Currently they troubleshooting and/or trying to understand what has gone wrong with the harpoons and if they need to be refired and so on and so on…… In the webcast they also reported trouble with radio down link and currently Rosetta is out of reach so Philea cannot relay any data.
      Tomorrow at 14:00 CET there will be the next briefing.
      I said this at some point before in another thread: This is not a Holywood movie. This is not entering “comet pictures” into google and getting 10 pics and 100 links in a millisecond….it the real world.

      • ‘This is not a movie ‘
        This is better than a movie!
        Now we have the suspense of will it hold on or not?
        Think there will be several people out there writing the screen version already.

      • Cometstalker says:

        A team is not a one person, teamwork also means time sharing.

    • Mhherr says:

      What an idiot! The mission began 10 years ago, and is using technology older than that. What more do you want. This is not happening a Star Trek-warp speed with 21st century technology. Of course, your cell phone takes higher resolution photos. But your cell phone wasn’t more than a dream 10 years ago..

  • Kit Robson says:

    Well Done !!!

  • Harry says:

    Well done the ESA Team!

  • Walter Dietz says:

    Great! Congratulations.

  • Phillip Geoffrey Alistair Cammidge says:

    Beautiful picture!

    More pictures, please

  • Adrian says:

    10 years nervous waiting over. Now the fun begins. Amazing achievement people and fantastic first images. Look forward to more soon. Well done, really well done and heartfelt congratulations.

  • logan says:

    120º the beak of the duck

  • Sonia says:

    Congratulations , well done !!!

  • Gabriel says:

    Good luck and courage to the team with the harpoon issue. They must be exhausted already, and their endeavour doesn’t seem over yet.

    May the Force be with them!

  • Julian says:

    Incredible and well done a great achievement.

  • Zia Khan says:

    Congratulations to the team for such a huge success….

  • Paul says:

    Great Job. Lovely Picture 🙂

  • David Ambrose says:

    Another triumph for our ability to predict the location of such objects from the comfort of our control rooms and connect with this object that has speed through our solar system since its formation billions of years ago.

  • Markus Berg says:

    “Damit das Mögliche entsteht, muss immer wieder das Unmögliche versucht werden”
    “To reach the possible, one must strive for the impossible”
    (Hermann Hesse)


  • Andrzej Skibicki says:

    Gratuluję, świetna robota.
    Congratulations, great Job!

  • Tim Allan says:

    Brilliant! Congratulations to all involved and thanks for the excellent internet coverage!

  • Will Robinson says:

    Wow. Nice job all!

  • Coacervate says:

    Did we hear that the harpoons fired?

    Bravo ESA! The audacity, indeed!

  • Christine Scianna says:

    It was amazing for my 7th grader students to watch it live! This was history in the making! Great job!

  • Nikolaus says:

    Well done!
    And hold on little Philae!!!

  • Armando says:

    Cometstalker, seriously? You’re complaining that these amazing people didn’t live up to your photography quality expectations? Stop that nonsense and keep celebrating this amazing feat that took 10+ years across multiple international teams to accomplish.

  • Curtis says:

    Excellent! Thanking you for giving us such a fine accomplishment to celebrate. Salute!

  • Juan Simón says:

    Va a poder verse Philae en su sitio de aterrizaje desde Rosetta con la cámara OSIRIS?

  • G. says:

    Great job! Congrats to all involved for this major achievement!

  • Juan Simón says:

    Va a poder verse Philae desde Rosetta con la cámara OSIRIS?

  • rob_A says:

    Landing on a rock 4 km large after a 511 million km trip!! Do we realize what this means in term of the understanding of universe physical laws ? Science is an endless adventure for which is worth to live.

  • ICTINOS says:

    FANTASTIC !!!!
    My thanks tonight for all those who have worked for the benefit of humanity and we offer these great moments shared.
    Do you think we can have a picture later of Philae on 67P / CG taken from Rosetta at one of its orbits ??
    Is it technically possible ??
    this has it been considered ??

  • Glenn Morrissey says:

    Astounding! Well done ESA.

  • i like future… enjoy the silence in a moment of history in this Year!

  • Dave says:

    The ground looks positively alive, no wonder a few things have gremlins.
    But great you have got this far.

  • james mcgeorge says:


  • Fitzliputzli says:

    It is like sending an object of the size of a bacteria to a trip 100 km from here to hit another object that counts less than one mm diameter – I mean, how do we even KNOW of objects in 100 km distance less than 1 mm big??!! You guys really push my imagination to the limits…

  • Robin Sherman says:

    It looks like Philae is about to land on the nose of the face a few tens of metres right of the centre of the landing ellipse. Pity, the same amount to the left it would have hit the big X in the depression to the left.

    Never mind, she is down in one piece it sounds like and sending back data. CONSERT can still be used and ROLIS so we should get plenty of data about the surface layer and the internal structure of the comet. Without the harpoons anchoring her, the drill is not an option, but everything else should still be OK. No information about the ice screws in the feet as yet officially. The question is, can they try and fire the harpoons again? The software might not be in place to shoot them again, it was meant to be a one shot only event.

    What a brilliant, amazing day it was though. Andrea you are my new hero. I wasn’t even slightly concerned about the 4th GO/NO GO, I knew Rosetta’s trajectory would be spot on. This is a walk in the park compared to rush hour in Rome. 🙂

  • Luc veeger says:

    COMET SCIENCE is the new standard! Congrats to ESA!!!

  • Congratulations!!!!!!!!

  • Rob says:

    who took the photos of the landing??

  • Rob says:

    who took the landing photos??

  • Andrew R Brown says:

    New image in.

    apparently there are images from the surface or so something on Twitter said Philae has stabilized and the feet are in 4 CM of dust and ice particles.

    When will we see those images 😀


  • sebrieu says:

    Absolument fantastique.

  • Cometstalker says:

    Congratulation to a multiple landing approach, at least one debounce seam to be the case. No harpoons, no screws, lets hope its feet freezes put or som smart things will pop out of the trickery box. Im confident that you after a good night sleep and some brain storm will solve the problems. The stream without the soundtrack was enjoyable as well as the dynamic of the body language was loud and clear. Thanks.

    • Matt says:

      You seem to be swinging between heartfelt congratulations and armchair “expert” scoffing at how YOU think the mission should have run and abusing the staff running the show.

      Check yourself before you hit that enter key champ.

  • Pamps says:

    Phenomenal work by all involved in this mind-boggling achievement. Timetable adhered to better than a London bus! Well done!

  • What an amazing and thrilling accomplishment! Today reminds me of what it felt like to watch the first moon landing. (How bizarre is it that humanity can do this yet still be dealing with issues from the Dark Ages..)

  • Marietjie Willemse says:

    Baie geluk! Ongelooflike prestasie
    Congratulations! Incredible achievement.

  • John says:

    You did it. Congratulations!

  • Steven Higgins says:

    Heartfelt congratulations to the ESA on your truly extraordinary achievement: Amazing!

  • Carl Wicker says:

    A great day to be human, well done to everyone involved.

  • Timothy X says:

    Congratulations ESA!
    Can’t wait to see images from the surface.

  • SpaceInvader says:

    Congratulations! Nice achievement.

    This may be a stupid question, but, why is the image in grayscale?

  • Klaus says:


    I share the moment with my son, as my dad share the moment of moon landing 1969 with me.
    A great experience.

    Thank you for your efforts.

    Klaus and Klaus jr.

  • Peter Taylor says:

    Brilliant mission and science, in awe of the work that has gone into everything to get to the comet and land on it.
    Science back on the front page! Yahoo!

  • Prashant says:

    Many congratulations for magnificent and remarkable achievement. Well Done! Making the impossible into possible is truly the ESA’s style.This is a rare recognition which is well deserved and will give you an opportunity to spread your wings futher. It is indeed a historical moment for ESA team in their scientific endeavor to trace our origins. I have been following Rosetta Mission closely since its inception back in 2004 and have to say again that it was most daring missions I have come across.

    May this sucess lead ESA to a greater achievements in years to come.

    Aim for the Stars.

    Keep Rocking guys !!!

  • Bill says:

    This is the Philae ROLIS descent image rotated, resized and located on the OSIRIS Geomorph Base Map. The actual landing site is spotted based the final ROLIS imagery, so we won’t know precisely where it bounced _to_ until we get Rosetta orbital images.

    Image sources: ESA/Rosetta/OSIRIS/ROLIS–OSIRIS–geomorph-terrain_basemap–ROLIS-L.png


  • Graham freeman says:

    Congratulations can’t wait for data

  • Guy Gibson says:

    Having bounced off the surface twice, the first bounce lasting two hours, does anybody know where the lander is now? Is it upside down?

  • Nick says:

    Elated o log on this morning and see Philae’s foot on the comet. An incredible achievement. Congratulations and thanks – I now have something really exciting to talk about with my Year 4 class this afternoon.

  • Why is it, OU (Open Uni) led missions always are perched on the very edge ofthe crevice of failure or actually fall in. (Think Beagle II) and the now deceased Colin Pillinger who was a really nice guy and communicated with me via meal. This one nearly bounced off into ignominy. More care and attention needed to fallible details. . A+ for effort.

    And a big helloo to messrs Churyumov & Gerasimenko’ from north of the border.

    The Noo.

  • Steven Brockman says:

    Simply amazing!!!

  • Tom O (USA) says:

    Great job!!! Hope you are receiving data

  • stardust1960 says:

    Great, great, great! I just want to congratulate all scientists, engineers and technicians for having done this nearly unbelievable project. I’m sure that we’ll get some answers but also opened new questions about the development of universe! I’m proud to live on our beautiful blue and unique(?) planet!!!

  • Ziga says:

    Great work! Congratulations! I can hardly wait for next…

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