One last image from Rosetta


Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

Rosetta's last image

Engineers reviewing the last bits of telemetry that was transmitted back to Earth by Rosetta just before it crashed on Comet 67P/C-G have discovered one last image of the comet’s surface.

That image is on the right. It is slightly blurred because of the limitations of Rosetta’s camera at this short range, and the incompleteness of the data received.

The image covers an area about a meter across, with a resolution of about two millimeters per pixel.

I imagine this surface is relatively soft, since the gravity holding the comet together is so slight. If you wanted to dig down, you would find it easy digging.

Share

2 comments

  • Max

    When I look at the surface, I realize that they could never hit such an object with a kinetic weapon or nuclear bomb. It would just shatter into a billion projectiles. It would take dozens of years perhaps hundreds before the majority of the objects, captured by gravity in elliptical orbits, crash into the earth or moon.
    The movies made it seem a simple problem to solve, just blow it up. It appears the only rational solution is to keep the comet intact.
    I like the proposal of landing a thruster on its surface, and gently nudge it on a new course. For this to work, we are going to need to locate potential near earth comet and astroids far ahead of time when a small nudge can move it out of danger. We start by creating many eyes and radar stations in orbit.
    The best place for great observations and triangulation is on the far side of the moon. Four or more bases stationed where at least two can identify an object and track it at a great distance.
    It wouldn’t hurt to install a very large permanently maned science station with huge telescopes and listening ears outside the atmosphere of earth. It would advanced our knowledge of the universe a hundred fold in one generation.
    It would only take one of these Comets glancing off the moon to destroy the satellites and set us all back to a time before the space-age… for a very long time.
    This must be prevented if we can. We have too much to lose, the technology is within our grasp. Mars is interesting, but it can wait.

  • Judy

    If the surface is that soft, the thruster would have to be carefully designed to have a large surface area so that it doesn’t drill straight through.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *