Philae may be done for, but Rosetta just captured an amazing image of Comet 67/P.
The Rosetta spacecraft has just captured an image of Comet 67/P that will endure long after the mission is fully over.
The European Space Agency-owned probe ws just a few hundred kilometers from the comet when it passed in between Rosetta and the sun, allowing it to capture the amazing image, according to a BBC report.
The weirdly shaped comet is on its way out of the inner solar system, but Rosetta will keep studying it until the spacecraft is set to collide with the comet in September, ending the mission. Controllers will try to make the landing gentle in the hopes of continuing to collect data, but the impact will likely damage Rosetta to the point that it won’t be able to continue sending signals to Earth.
Currently, the comet is about 400 million kilometers from the sun and getting 20 kilometers further away each second.
Rosetta has certainly been on quite a journey since launching in 2004. It has traveled 7.7 billion kilometers, arriving at the comet in August 2014 before dropping off the Philae probe on its surface in November. It was at its closest to the sun on Aug. 13, 2015.
“In this CometWatch image, the small comet lobe is on the left and the large one on the right,” an ESA statement reads. “The image was taken at a very large phase angle of about 159 degrees, meaning that the comet lies between the spacecraft and the Sun, and that all three are very close to being on the same line.”