First ever photograph on the surface of a comet!


The man species did something really incredible a few days ago. After a 10 year journey to Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, Rosetta released its lander Philae, which arrived on the comet’s surface, bounced around a bit because of a malfunction, and then sent back the very first photo from the surface of a comet.

Philae is a robotic European Space Agency lander that accompanied the Rosetta spacecraft until its designated landing on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, more than ten years after departing Earth.


In fact the image we got was a 360 degree panorama shot and made up of multiple images taken by its CIVA-P imaging system. Philae’s 3 feet can be seen in but, despondently, because the harpoon system meant to anchor Philae to the comet’s surface failed, the lander ended up bouncing into a shadowy section of the comet’s surface inside a crater, a full kilometer away from the anticipated landing s The ESA also posted a version of the panorama with Philae pot.


That’s all we have for now, and it’s possible it’s all we’ll get for a bit. Having ended up in a dark spot, there’s not much sun hitting Philae’s solar panels so the ESA has to conserve energy and prioritize experiment. As the comet spins and Philae receives more sun over the coming weeks more experiments will proceed.