The European Space Agency has launched spectacular images captured during the final descent of the Rosetta spacecraft to the surface of Comet 67P / Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
The images were delivered by the OSIRIS camera team to ESA in May and have now been processed and published in both the Archive Image Browser and the Planetary Science Archive.
All the high-resolution images and data underlying Rosetta's pioneering mission in Comet 67P / Churyumov-Gerasimenko are now available in ESA archives, with the latest release including the iconic images of finding the Philae module .
The archive image browser also houses images captured by the spacecraft's Camera of Navigation, while the Planetary Science Archive contains publicly available data of the eleven scientific instruments on board Rosetta, as well as other missions of exploration of the Solar System of the ESA.
The last batch of high-resolution images The OSIRIS camera from Rosetta covers the period from the end of July 2016 to the end of the mission on September 30, 2016.
Makes the total count of images of Narrow-angle and wide-angle cameras increase to 100,000 in the spacecraft's 12-year space travel. including the first overflights of the Earth, Mars and two asteroids before arriving at the comet.
The trajectory of the spacecraft around the comet changed pro Gressively during the last two months of the mission, moving closer and closer to its closest point along elliptical orbits.
This allowed us to obtain some spectacular images from only two kilometers from the surface, highlighting the contrasts in exquisite detail between the smooth and dusty terrain, and the more consolidated and fractured comet material.
A particularly memorable set of images captured in this period were those of the Rosetta lander, Philae, after the arduous effort during the previous years to determine its location.
Rosetta flying so close, the challenging conditions badociated with the dust and gas escaping from the comet, along with the topography of the local terrain, caused problems getting the best line-of-sight view of Philae's expected location, but the winner shot finally captured only weeks before the end of the mission.
In the final hours of the mission, Rosetta moved even closer to the surface of the site, scanned an old well and finally sent images showing what would become her resting place.
Even after the spacecraft went silent, the team was able to reconstruct a final image of the final telemetry packets sent when Rosetta was about 20 meters from the surface.
"Having all the images finally archived to share with the world is a wonderful feeling," said Holger Sierks, principal investigator for the camera.
"The final set of images complements the rich treasure chest of data that the scientific community is already exploring to really understand this comet from all perspectives, not only from the images, but also from the gas, dust and plasma, and explore the role of comets in general in our ideas about the formation of the Solar System, "said Matt Taylor, Rosetta project scientist at ESA.
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