Look Out Below! Rosetta Will Give Its Comet A Close Buzz In February

Remember how breathless we felt when the Philae lander actually made it to the surface of its target comet a few weeks ago? Sure, the maneuvers didn’t go as planned, but the images the spacecraft obtained in its brief spurts of activity on the surface are still being shared and discussed eagerly by scientists (amid […]

Rosetta’s Instruments Direct Scientists to Look Elsewhere for the Source of Earth’s Water

Where did all of our water come from? What might seem like a simple question has challenged and intrigued planetary scientists for decades. So results just released by Rosetta mission scientists have been much anticipated and the observations of the Rosetta spacecraft instruments are telling us to look elsewhere. The water of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko does […]

Philae Lander Early Science Results: Ice, Organic Molecules and Half a Foot of Dust

An uncontrolled, chaotic landing.  Stuck in the shadow of a cliff without energy-giving sunlight.  Philae and team persevered.  With just 60 hours of battery power, the lander drilled, hammered and gathered science data on the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko before going into hibernation. Here’s what we know. (…)Read the rest of Philae Lander Early Science Results: Ice, […]

Alone and Confused, Philae Breaks our Hearts

I was thirteen years old when Columbia disintegrated. Space exploration was not even a particular interest of mine at the time, but I remember exactly where I was when the news came.  My dad and I were sitting in the living room of my childhood home, listening to NPR. I don’t really recall how I […]

Music to Celebrate the Rosetta Mission

“Arrival” by Vangelis We report on the Rosetta mission to share the news and follow the progress of the precarious-perched Philae. But sometimes it takes another form of communication to dig down deep and release the wonder we all feel inside at the amazing images that daily light up our monitors. Music. Inspired by the Rosetta mission and […]

New Images from Philae Reveal Comet’s Ancient Surface

We may not know exactly where Philae is, but it’s doing a bang-up job sending its first photos from comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. After bouncing three times on the surface, the lander is tilted vertically with one foot in open space in a “handstand” position.  When viewing the photographs, it’s good to keep that in mind. (…)Read the rest […]

We Land on a Comet Today! Updates on Philae’s Progress

Anticipation is intense as the Philae lander free-falls to the surface of Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko this morning. The final “Go” for separation from the Rosetta spacecraft was given around 2:30 a.m.; Philae’s now well on its way to Algilkia, the target landing site atop the 67P/C-G’s larger(…)Read the rest of We Land on a Comet Today! Updates on Philae’s […]

A Comet’s Tale – Rosetta’s Philae, Five Days from Touchdown

In the recently released Rosetta short film called “Ambition”, the master begins a story to his apprentice – “Once upon a time.” The apprentice immediately objects to his triteness. But he promises that it is worth the slight tribulation. Who could have imagined ten years ago that Rosetta would become so successful in two such contrasting […]

Stinky! Rosetta’s Comet Smells Like Rotten Eggs And Ammonia

While you can’t smell in space — there is no medium to carry the molecules, the same reason you can’t hear things — you can certainly detect what molecules are emanating from comets and other solar system bodies. A new analysis of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko by the orbiting Rosetta spacecraft thus found a rather pungent chemistry […]

Rosetta’s Comet Springs Spectacular Leaks As It Gets Closer To The Sun

Jet! The comet that the Rosetta spacecraft is visiting is shedding more dust as machine and Solar System body get closer to the Sun. While activity was first seen at the “neck” of the rubber-duckie shaped comet a few weeks ago, now scientists are seeing jets spring from across the comet. (…)Read the rest of […]