Rosetta swoops in for a close encounter

ESA’s Rosetta probe is preparing to make a close encounter with its comet on 14 February, passing just 6 km from the surface.

Today, Rosetta is moving into a new path ahead of a very close encounter next week. First, it will move out to a distance of roughly 140 km from the comet by 7 February, before swooping in for the close encounter at 12:41 GMT (13:41 CET) on 14 February. The closest pass occurs over the comet’s larger lobe, above the Imhotep region.

“The upcoming close flyby will allow unique scientific observations, providing us with high-resolution measurements of the surface over a range of wavelengths and giving us the opportunity to sample – taste or sniff – the very innermost parts of the comet’s atmosphere,” says Matt Taylor, ESA’s Rosetta project scientist.

Full article via ESA web.

Comments

12 Comments

  • Svetoslav Alexandrov says:

    Great. Another close encounter with taking pictures we just won’t be allowed to see…

  • DavidW says:

    Looking forward to the science obtained from this, but hoping more than ever that the Osiris team will allow us just one high def from this pass.
    David W

  • cosmo says:

    The 3-dimensional character of the trajectories are not well visible in the video. The trajectory lies again in the terminator plane after the 4 March manoeuvre, isn’t it?. Maybe you could post some diagrams that better illustrate the spatial orientation of the trajectory arcs.

  • Marc says:

    Have been following the amazing project so far. I wonder about the propellant usage by Rosetta. How much is left to keep on steering Rosetta around the comet ? Any comment on this possible ?

  • WayneC says:

    Maybe they’ll find Philae…

  • WayneC says:

    After watching the video, I wonder how much fuel those maneuvers take. Rosetta must have plenty.
    I’m looking forward to the close encounter and the dribbles of science we’ll get. The high resolution pictures should be amazing.
    Well done Rosetta team, thanks

  • Bill Harris says:

    From the ESA full Article:
    “During some of the close flybys, Rosetta will encounter the comet almost in step with the rotation, allowing the instruments to monitor a single point on the surface as it passes by. ”

    Good planning.

    And during close flybys of Saturn’s moon Enceladus, the Cassini probe induced a precise roll in the spacecraft to counter the motion-blur in the image. Is (or can) Rosetta planning that?

    –Bill

  • logan says:

    “During some of the close flybys, Rosetta will encounter the comet almost in step with the rotation, allowing the instruments to monitor a single point on the surface as it passes by. ”

    Please make a looong exposure with a filter dark to 67P and clear to Philae, centered around the statistic resting area. CONCERT Team needs to consolidate collected data.

  • cosmo says:

    It seems the Rosetta Flight Control Team has changed the Wed/Sun orbit correction manoeuvre cycle to a Wed/Sat OCM cycle. How come? The exception to the rule is the Tuesday 17 Feb OCM. Is the 2nd manoeuvre to go back to the comet on the same day?

  • John Van der Stap says:

    Great! I hope that during this low orbit fly-by Rosetta will be able to ascertain Philae’s whereabouts. Or is reconnaissance of that area not on the schedule?

  • Mr Chester says:

    Are the abrupt left and right turns of Rosetta as shown above actually being performed? Seems impossible.

    • logan says:

      Hi Mr Chester: The Sim is Fast Forwarded. That ‘curious’ trajectories could be designed for security and speed, curved ones would be unreasonably slow is such a small planet[oid].

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