Rosetta imagery shows Philae at first landing site

Images recorded by Rosetta’s navigation camera appear to show the lander, its shadow and the dust cloud kicked up by its first touchdown.

Image: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM; pre-processed by Mikel Canania
Image: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM; pre-processed by Mikel Canania

The first image in the sequence was taken on at 15:30 GMT on 12 November, just before the lander’s first touchdown; the second image was taken at 15:35 GMT, right after touchdown. The raw images were posted on ESA’s Rosetta blog on Friday and readers of the blog were the first to successful locate Philae and its shadow to the right of the more obvious dust cloud. The findings of the blog readers were confirmed by Mikel Canania from the earth observation division of ESA’s Flight Dynamics department.

The dust cloud kicked up by Philae’s first touchdown. The green dot is the predicted landing spot based on data recorded during the descent. ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM – CC BY-SA IGO 3.0

Philae bounced following this first touchdown and didn’t touch the surface again for two hours, before bouncing another time and reaching its final landing spot. It’s still not know exactly where Philae finally came to rest. Ground controllers have not heard from the lander since communications ended early Saturday morning as its battery power ran out.