Wonder what it sounded like when Philae landed on the comet? The lander’s Cometary Acoustic Surface Sounding Experiment (CASSE) recorded the moment Philae first hit comet 67P. The CASSE was able to detect vibrations through Philae’s feet, and convert it into sound.
The two second recording below backs up what scientists believe about the surface of the comet. There’s a soft layer of on comet 67P’s surface measuring several centimeters thick. Below that is a much harder, icy layer.
Philae ultimately touched the comet three times last week before finally coming to a rest.
The ESA released a new image earlier this week showing Philae initially landing on the comet before bouncing and drifting towards the shadow it would ultimately land in.
What’s next for the overall Rosetta mission?
Philae is dormant now. Scientists hope to wake it up as the comet gets closer to the sun, but that could be iffy.
The Rosetta spacecraft’s mission is far from over.
“With lander delivery complete, Rosetta will resume routine science observations and we will transition to the ‘comet escort phase’,” says Flight Director Andrea Accomazzo.
“This science-gathering phase will take us into next year as we go with the comet towards the Sun, passing perihelion, or closest approach, on 13 August, at 186 million kilometres from our star.”
The Rosetta spacecraft had been in an orbit to better facilitate Philae’s mission. With that now complete, a new orbit will be selected to better take advantage of Rosetta’s suite of sensors.
Early next month, mission planners will move Rosetta to a 20km orbit around the comet. This lower orbit will be used to take high-resolution images of the comet’s nucleus and collect samples from any material coming off the comet. Rosetta will then move back to a 30km orbit after about 10 days at 20km.
From here on out, it’s the Rosetta show. As the comet approaches the sun, the spacecraft will be the first to ever see up close the development of a comet’s coma and tail.