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ESA: Rosetta Comet Landing Mission

ESA’s Rosetta mission has soft-landed its Philae probe on a comet, the first time in history that such an extraordinary feat has been achieved. 12/11/2014 - 16:03 GMT

The surface of Comet 67P/C-G from the lander's down-looking descent camera ROLIS. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/Philae/ROLIS/DLR

Rosetta’s lander Philae is safely on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, as these first two CIVA images confirm. One of the lander’s three feet can be seen in the foreground. 
Credit: ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA

ESA: Rosetta - Rendezvous whith a Comet
ESA: European Space Agency
ESA: European Space Agency on YouTube

Rosetta orbiting Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko and scanning its surface to make scientific measurements. The colours of the beams and their shape on the surface represent two different instruments imaging and analysing the comet.

Rosetta is a science mission and it is using 21 onboard instruments (11 on the orbiter, 10 on the lander) to explore two key scientific questions: did water on Earth come from comets and did comets help kick start life on Earth?

The Singing Comet: 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko  magnetic field oscillations

The comet seems to be emitting a ‘song’ in the form of oscillations in the magnetic field in the comet’s environment. It is being sung at 40-50 millihertz, far below human hearing, which typically picks up sound between 20 Hz and 20 kHz. To make the music audible to the human ear, the frequencies have been increased by a factor of about 10,000.
The music was heard clearly by the magnetometer experiment (RPC-Mag) for the first time in August, when Rosetta drew to within 100 km of 67P/C-G. The scientists think it must be produced in some way by the activity of the comet, as it releases neutral particles into space where they become electrically charged due to a process called ionisation. But the precise physical mechanism behind the oscillations remains a mystery.

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