Philae's first touchdown seen by Rosetta's NavCam

Philae's first touchdown seen by Rosetta's NavCam


15/11/2014 10:42 am


Credits: ESA/Rosetta/NavCam – CC BY-SA IGO 3.0


These animated images provide strong evidence that Rosetta’s Philae lander touched down for the first time almost precisely where intended. The animation comprises images recorded by Rosetta’s navigation camera as the orbiter flew over the (intended) Philae landing site on 12 November.

The images were taken at 15:30:32 GMT and 15:35:32 GMT, while first touchdown was at 15:34:06 GMT, between the timestamps of the two images.

The first image is thus 3 min 34 sec before touchdown. At this time, Philae was about 250 m above the surface. The second image is 1 min 26 seconds after first touchdown.

The touchdown is seen as a dark area in the second image, which is considered a strong indication that the lander touched down at this spot (possibly raising dust). The third image in the sequence is the same as the second, with the likely position of Philae and its shadow highlighted.

The images were taken from about 15 km above the surface, giving an approximate scale of 1.3 m per pixel.  

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