Rosetta transmits first Philae photo of comet 67P

Yesterday, did you manage to catch the landing of Philae, the robot which the Rosetta spacecraft successfully shot onto the surface of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko?

We provided instructions on how to view the live stream for you, but if you missed that, you can still see the landing replayed via the European Space Agency site.

While the mission appears to have been a success, there is something of a hitch in that Philae did not properly shoot its harpoons on landing, so it’s not yet known if the robot is properly anchored to the comet. If it isn’t secured, that will make drilling and taking samples difficult, although scientists remain optimistic because the probe has not tipped over, and is stabilising.

And Philae has sent back the first photo from comet 67P, which you can see above. It looks pretty, well, rocky would be one way to describe it. Hopefully we’ll be getting a lot more images and details from the probe in the near future…

Due to Rosetta’s orbit, there are generally only two windows for communication with Philae per day – the mission heard from the probe this morning, and the next window is this evening.

The ESA noted: “The team are ensuring that Rosetta maintains an orbit that is optimised for lander communication support; they are planning a manoeuvre (thruster burn) today to be conducted on Friday that will help keep Rosetta where it should be. Rosetta already conducted a burn last night as part of this effort.”

Image Credit: European Space Agency – ESA, via Sky News