2015 in Review: A Year of Spectacular Planetary Missions and Discoveries

High-resolution view of Pluto from New Horizons, showing rugged mountains and vast icy plains. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

To say that 2015 has been a great year for planetary exploration would be an understatement, with fantastic new discoveries from around the Solar System. From our first ever close-up look at Pluto and its moons, […]

Rosetta Scientists Answer Question of How 'Rubber Duck' Comet 67P Got Its Shape

Image from July 14, 2015, showing the double-lobed or “rubber duck” shape of Comet 67P and outgassing of water vapor, gas, and dust. Image Credit: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM – CC BY-SA IGO 3.0

Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, or 67P, has been the focus of intense study by the Rosetta spacecraft since 2014. One of the key mysteries […]

Rosetta Spacecraft Observes 'Dramatic and Rapid' Changes on Surface of Comet 67P

Sequence of images showing the surface changes in the Imhotep region. Image Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

Since August 2014, the Rosetta spacecraft has been orbiting Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, providing an unprecedented look at an active comet as it moves closer to the Sun in its orbit. As expected, the level of activity […]

A Perfect Day for Sunbathing: A Year After Its Arrival, Rosetta Observes Comet 67P at Perihelion

From ESA: “This series of images of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko was captured by Rosetta’s OSIRIS narrow-angle camera on 12 August 2015, just a few hours before the comet reached the closest point to the Sun along its 6.5-year orbit, or perihelion.” The center image shows a significant outburst. Image Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team […]

Philae's First Science Results Highlight an Unexpected Cometary World

From ESA: “Zooming in to a portion of the fractured cliff face imaged by CIVA camera 4 reveals brightness variations in the comet’s surface properties down to centimetre and millimetre scales. The dominant constituents are very dark conglomerates, likely made of organics. The brighter spots could represent mineral grains, perhaps even pointing to […]

Rosetta Team Troubleshoots Philae as Comet's Activity 'Heats Up'

From ESA: ““This single frame Rosetta navigation camera image of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was taken on 14 July 2015 from a distance of 161 km from the comet centre. The image has a resolution of 13.7 m/pixel and measures 14 km across.” Image Credit: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM – CC BY-SA IGO 3.0

The European Space Agency’s […]

Rosetta Update: Team Ramps Up for Perihelion, Communications With Philae, and Remembering Dr. Claudia Alexander

From ESA: ” This image focuses on Apis and Atum regions on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko’s large lobe in the foreground, with parts of the small lobe in the background. The image is a mosaic of two OSIRIS narrow-angle camera images. The images were acquired on 5 September 2014 when Rosetta was about 40 km […]

Touchdown! ESA’s Philae Probe Soft Lands on a Comet for First Time in Human History

Philae ROLIS camera image acquired during descent on 12 November 2014 at 14:38:41 to Comet 67P/C-G from a distance of approximately 3 km from surface. Credits: ESA/Rosetta/Philae/ROLIS/DLR Story updated

For the first time in human history, a manmade object has touched down on the surface of a comet!

Marking a truly astounding moment, […]

ESA Announces Landing Site Naming Contest as Rosetta Gets Best Comet Views

ESA and its Rosetta mission partners are inviting you to suggest a name for the site where lander Philae will touch down on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on 12 November. Credit: ESA

Calling all space enthusiasts! Here’s your chance to participate in Europe’s breathtaking Rosetta comet mission with a ringside seat for history’s first-ever attempt […]

ESA ‘Green Lights’ Primary Landing Site for Rosetta’s Philae Lander

Philae’s primary landing site from 30 km. Close-up of the region containing Philae’s primary landing site J, which is located on the ‘head’ of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. The mosaic comprises two images taken by Rosetta’s OSIRIS narrow-angle camera on 14 September 2014 from a distance of about 30 km. The image scale is 0.5 […]