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.