Rosetta: Self-portrait 16 kilometers from the comet.

The Ultimate Space Selfie: 10 Miles From a Comet

The Ultimate Space Selfie: 10 Miles From a Comet

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
Oct. 14 2014 12:16 PM

Self-Portrait 10 Miles From a Comet

Holy Periodic Comet Photos! Check. This. Out!

Selfie at comet
I'm glad it didn't make duck lips. And oh yes, you very much want to click to encomenate that.

Photo by ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA

That is a self-portrait taken by the Philae landing craft onboard the Rosetta space probe, when they were just 16 kilometers (10 miles) from the comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. You can see the side of Rosetta on the left and the solar panel that’s keeping it powered on the right.

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And at the top is the comet itself, magnificent and moody in this high-contrast grayscale composite (two images were combined so that both the spacecraft and comet were exposed well). You can even see a jet emanating from the comet, a stream of gas blown out as ice is hit and warmed by sunlight. Stunning.

Rosetta is nosing closer to the comet, and will release the Philae lander in a few weeks. On Nov. 12, the probe will touch down on the surface of the comet, a milestone in our exploration of space. Judging from the quality of this picture, what we will see on that day will be jaw-dropping.