Tags: philae | comet | photos | thermometer

Philae Lander Sends Back First Comet Photos From 311 Million Miles Away

Image: Philae Lander Sends Back First Comet Photos From 311 Million Miles Away
This image shows an OSIRIS narrow-angle image taken from a distance of 18 Miles on 14 September 2014, prior to landing. (ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS/DPA/Landov)

By    |   Friday, 14 Nov 2014 07:55 AM

The Philae Lander has captured its first photos of the comet it hitched on Wednesday, transmitting the awe-inspiring, serene images 311 million miles back to Earth.

According to The Associated Press, the landing was a tough one, but after three attempts, Philae — about the size of a washing machine — was able to grab a secure hold on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, and deploy the close-up camera attached to its underside, as well as seven high-definition microcameras.

Each microcamera weighs just 3.5 ounces, and are designed to endure temperatures as low as negative 238 degrees Fahrenheit.

The first image captures were released on the website of the mission's director, the European Space Agency, as well as on Philae's official Twitter account this week. The first two were taken during landing, and the third was taken after touchdown.





The precious images stunned observers, as they became the first close-up pictures humanity has taken of far-away comets. Unfortunately, the photos might become all the more precious, as on Thursday mission control realized that Philae had likely landed in the shadow of a cliff, which may mean its solar panels may not be getting enough sunlight to charge.

On Friday, the AP reported that Philae was able, however, to carry out its first "mechanical operation" by planting a thermometer in the comet's surface. After that, scientists hope to drill into the comet to take a core sample.

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The Philae Lander has captured its first photos of the comet it hitched on Wednesday, transmitting the awe-inspiring, serene images 311 million miles back to Earth.
philae, comet, photos, thermometer
314
2014-55-14
Friday, 14 Nov 2014 07:55 AM
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