Structural Changes on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

This image showcases changes identified in high-resolution images of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko during more than two years of monitoring by ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft. Credits: Top center images: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO; all others: ESA/Rosetta/MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

 

This image showcases changes identified in high-resolution images of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko during more than two years of monitoring by ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft. 

The approximate locations of each feature are marked on the central context images. Dates of when the before and after images were taken are also indicated. Note that the orientation and resolution between image pairs may vary, therefore set arrows in each image point to the location of the changes, for guidance. 

Rosetta is a European Space Agency mission with contributions from its member states and NASA. Rosetta’s Philae lander is provided by a consortium led by the German Aerospace Center, Cologne; Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Gottingen; French National Space Agency, Paris; and the Italian Space Agency, Rome. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages the U.S. participation in the Rosetta mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

A 100 foot-wide (30 meter), 28-million-pound (12.8-million-kilogram) boulder, was found to have moved 460 feet (140 meters) on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in the lead up to perihelion in August 2015, when the comet’s activity was at its highest. Credits: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

 

A 100 foot-wide (30 meter), 28-million-pound (12.8-million-kilogram) boulder, was found to have moved 460 feet (140 meters) on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in the lead up to perihelion in August 2015, when the comet’s activity was at its highest. In both images, an arrow points to the boulder; in the right-hand image, the dotted circle outlines the original location of the boulder for reference.

The movement could have been triggered in one of two ways: either the material on which it was sitting eroded away, allowing it to roll downslope, or a sufficiently forceful outburst could have directly lifted it to the new location. Indeed, several outburst events were detected close to the original position of the boulder during perihelion.

The images were taken by Rosetta’s OSIRIS camera on May 2, 2015 (left) and Feb. 7, 2016 (right), with resolutions of 7.5 feet (2.3 meters) per pixel and 2.6 feet (0.8 meters) per pixel, respectively.

Rosetta is a European Space Agency mission with contributions from its member states and NASA. Rosetta’s Philae lander is provided by a consortium led by the German Aerospace Center, Cologne; Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Gottingen; French National Space Agency, Paris; and the Italian Space Agency, Rome. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages the U.S. participation in the Rosetta mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

 

 

Several sites of cliff collapse on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko were identified during Rosetta’s mission. Credits: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

 

Several sites of cliff collapse on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko were identified during Rosetta’s mission. The yellow arrows mark the fractures where the detachment occurred. The collapsed sections are about 50 feet (15 meters) long for the left-hand section, and 30 feet (9 meters) for the right-hand section. Additional images taken from greater distances suggest the collapse occurred between May and December 2015.

The images were taken by Rosetta’s OSIRIS camera on Dec. 2, 2014 (left), and March 12, 2016 (right), with resolutions of 1.6 feet (0.5 meters) per pixel and 1 foot (0.3 meters) per pixel, respectively.

Rosetta is a European Space Agency mission with contributions from its member states and NASA. Rosetta’s Philae lander is provided by a consortium led by the German Aerospace Center, Cologne; Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Gottingen; French National Space Agency, Paris; and the Italian Space Agency, Rome. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages the U.S. participation in the Rosetta mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

For more information on the U.S. instruments aboard Rosetta, visit http://rosetta.jpl.nasa.gov.

More information about Rosetta is available at http://www.esa.int/rosetta.

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One thought on “Structural Changes on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

    […] NOTE: Make sure you check 0ut the accompanying Space Photo Exploration page for Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko […]

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