There’s no contest for the best space image of the day. Taken on September 7th, the image below shows the Rosetta spacecraft with Comet 67P tumbling in the background.
Comet 67P sits about 50 kilometers from the Rosetta spacecraft in the image above. Rosetta’s tiny landing craft, Philae, snapped the breathtaking image. You can see of one of Rosetta’s 14 meter long solar wings reflecting sunlight, and the two distinct sections of Comet 67P.
Besides taking incredible images, here’s what else the Rosetta spacecraft has been up to. Five possible landing sites were selected last month. Mission planners selected potential sites that looked flat and smooth. The task of getting Philae on the comet will be a daunting one, though. Closer inspection of the comet reveals and incredibly rocky and jagged surface. Check out the various boulders and jagged outcroppings in the image below.
Philae’s landing site will have to be chosen carefully. Any slopes, cracks or stray rocks could possible knock the lander over when it lands. Right now, the Philae lander is expected to attempt a landing in November.
The team leading the Rosetta mission will pore over the latest pictures of Comet 67P over the next few days to pick the best option for a potential landing. Final landing selection is expected to be announced on September 15.
Image credit: ESA/Rosetta