Astronomy Picture of the Day
December 25, 2014


Credits: ESA/Rosetta/NavCam and Dr Paolo C. Fienga/LXTT/IPF for the additional process. and color.

These suggestive high Cliffs are present on the Surface of a now well known Comet: in fact, they were discovered to be part of the Dark Nucleus of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko by the ESA - Rosetta Spacecraft: a Robotic Spacecraft launched by the European Space Agency, which began orbiting the Comet in early August 2014. The ragged Cliffs, as featured here, were imaged by Rosetta a little more than two weeks ago. Although towering about one kilometer high, the low Surface Gravity of the Comet 67/P Churyumov–Gerasimenko would likely make a jump from the Cliffs, by a human, survivable.

At the base of the abovementioned Cliffs there is some - relatively - smooth Terrain, dotted with Boulders (---> huge Erratic Rocks) as large as 20 meters (such as approx. 65,6 feet) across. The scientific data collected so far from Rosetta indicates that the Ice present in and on the Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko has a significantly different Deuterium Fraction - and hence, likely, a different origin - than the Water that we can find in the Earth's Oceans. The ESA - Rosetta Spacecraft is scheduled to continue to accompany the Comet as it makes its closest approach to the Sun, during the month of August 2015.

This frame (which is an Original ESA - Rosetta Spacecraft's b/w and NON Map-Projected image-mosaic published on the NASA - Picture of the Day on December, 23, 2014) has been additionally processed, contrast enhanced, magnified to aid the visibility of the details, Gamma corrected and then colorized - according to an educated guess (or, if you wish, an informed speculation) carried out by Dr Paolo C. Fienga - in Absolute Natural Colors (such as the colors that a human eye would actually perceive if someone were onboard the ESA - Rosetta Spacecraft and then looked outside, towards the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko) by using an original technique created - and, in time, dramatically improved - by the Lunar Explorer Italia Team. Different colors, as well as different shades of the same color, mean, among other things, the existence of different Elements (Minerals) present on the Surface of the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, each having a different Albedo (---> Reflectivity) and Chemical Composition.

Note: it is possible (but we, as IPF, have no way to be one-hundred-percent sure of such a circumstance), that the actual luminosity of the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko - as it is in this frame - would appear, to an average human eye, a little bit lower than it has been shown (or, better yet: interpreted) here.

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