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Philae's first touchdown seen by Rosetta's NavCam

Philae's first touchdown seen by Rosetta's NavCam


Date: 11 November 2014
Satellite: Rosetta
Depicts: First touchdown on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko
Copyright: See below

This animated image provides strong evidence that Philae touched down for the first time almost precisely where intended. The animation comprises images recorded by the navigation camera (NAVCAM) on board Rosetta as the orbiter flew over the (intended) Philae landing site on 12 November.

The images were taken at 15:30:32 UTC and 15:35:32 UTC onboard spacecraft time. The landing time was 15:34:06 UTC onboard the spacecraft, between the timestamps of the two images.

The first image is thus 3 min 34 sec before touchdown. At this time, Philae was approximately 250m above the surface. The second image is 1 min 26 seconds after first touchdown. The touchdown is seen as a dark area, which is considered as strong indication that the lander touched down at this spot (possibly raising dust from the impact). 

They were taken from a distance of about 15 km from the surface, giving an approximate scale of 1.3 m per pixel.

An annotated version of this animated image, with the likely position of Philae and its shadow highlighted, is available here.


Credit: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM, CC BY-SA IGO 3.0
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 IGO License. Creative Commons License

Last Update: 1 September 2019
2-Dec-2021 01:21 UT

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