The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Rosetta spacecraft captured two interesting images of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet last Aug. 7. The images expose the variety of the surface structures on its nucleus.

The spacecraft, using a narrow-angle camera of OSIRIS, was 104 kilometers or 65 miles away from four kilometers or 2.5 miles width of the comet’s nucleus.

“As the distance between Rosetta and the comet decreased rapidly between May and August, the onboard scientific and navigation cameras began to resolve the comet and identify features on its surface,” the ESA says in a statement. “Rosetta's other instruments are also beginning to 'sense' the comet's environment in more and more detail as the spacecraft draws close.”

The two images were merged to provide a 3-D image version of the comet’s surface.

“In the image, the comet’s head (in the top half of the image) exhibits parallel linear features that resemble cliffs, and its neck displays scattered boulders on a relatively smooth, slumping surface,” according to the issued statement of NASA. “In comparison, the comet's body (lower half of the image) seems to exhibit a multi-variable terrain with peaks and valleys, and both smooth and rough topographic features.”

Rosetta isn’t alone, however, in gathering data about the 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet. Other orbiters also take scientific measurements of the environment and surface of the comet.

The scientists are also on the selection process to identify a landing site that is both safe and technically interesting for the lander of Rosetta called Philae. The lander will gather the first pictures from the surface of the comet and will offer a preliminary analysis of its composition through a drill into its surface.

The preliminary selection will be held on Aug. 20. A maximum of 10 landing sites will be selected during the process.

Said spacecraft was rolled out in March 2004 and was rebooted only last January, following 957 recorded days of hibernation. Its goals are to closely examine the said comet in exceptional detail, to prepare for a probe landing on the nucleus of the comet on Nov. 11 and to follow through the changes as it swings by the sun.

Rosetta spacecraft will be first to witness the changes in a comet up close as the comet is exposed to the mounting strength of the radiation of the sun. Through careful observations, the scientists will discover further the origin and the evolution of the solar system as well as the possible role of the comet in placing water on Earth.

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