234 Kilometers to a Comet

The entire universe in blog form
Aug. 5 2014 12:06 PM

Rosetta: 234 Kilometers and Closing!

Yesterday, when the Rosetta spacecraft was a mere 234 kilometers (145 miles) from the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (or just ChuGer) it took this amazing image with its navigational camera:

67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko
Rosetta snapped this shot of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from a mere 234 km away. It'll get closer yet by tomorrow.

Photo by ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM

That’s the full-resolution image; the folks at the European Space Agency also provided another one that’s been expanded in size by a factor of two:

rosetta_aug4_interp
Come closer ...

Photo by ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM

Advertisement

Wow. What a bizarre, alien place! Mind you, the main OSIRIS camera has more resolution than the NAVCAM, so we’ll be getting better pictures soon. And of course, Rosetta is still on the approach! The landscape (cometscape?) is coming into focus. There are large circular features (craters?) and what looks like debris scattered across the surface. However, due to issues with image artifacts and so on, I’ll avoid speculating on what we’re seeing in detail; I made that mistake before! I’m excited, but I can wait. It won’t be long …

That’s because Rosetta will perform a final braking maneuver at 09:00 UTC (05:00 EDT) Wednesday (Aug. 6) morning and will enter an initial 100 km orbit above ChuGer at 09:06 UTC when the thruster burn is completed.

When this occurs, it will be the first time in history humans have placed a spacecraft into orbit around a comet.

The ESA will provide a live feed of the events starting at 08:00 UTC Wednesday.

More info:

TODAY IN SLATE

Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

There Are New Abuse Allegations Against Adrian Peterson

After This Merger, One Company Could Control One-Third of the Planet's Beer Sales

John Oliver Pleads for Scotland to Stay With the U.K.

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

Jurisprudence

Don’t Expect Adrian Peterson to Go to Prison

In much of America, beating your kids is perfectly legal. 

The Juice

Ford’s Big Gamble

It’s completely transforming America’s best-selling vehicle.

I Tried to Write an Honest Profile of One of Bollywood’s Biggest Stars. It Didn’t Go Well.

Here’s Why College Women Don’t Take Rape Allegations to the Police

The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 1:51 PM Here’s Why College Women Don’t Take Rape Allegations to the Police
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 15 2014 8:56 PM The Benghazi Whistleblower Who Might Have Revealed a Massive Scandal on his Poetry Blog
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 15 2014 7:27 PM Could IUDs Be the Next Great Weapon in the Battle Against Poverty?
  Life
Outward
Sept. 15 2014 4:38 PM What Is Straight Ice Cream?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 15 2014 11:38 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 4  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Listen."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 15 2014 8:58 PM Lorde Does an Excellent Cover of Kanye West’s “Flashing Lights”
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 15 2014 4:49 PM Cheetah Robot Is Now Wireless and Gallivanting on MIT’s Campus
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 15 2014 11:00 AM The Comet and the Cosmic Beehive
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.