Astronomy Picture of the Day
November 13, 2014

Just 40 meters away from History
Just 40 meters away from History

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

This image was taken by the Philae Lander, of the European Space Agency's Rosetta Mission when it was about 130 feet (such as a little less than 40 meters) above the Surface of the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, during its descent which occurred on November, 12, 2014.

Philae took the image with its ROsetta Lander Imaging System (or "ROLIS", for short). The view shows us that the Surface of the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is (sems to be) covered by Dust and Debris, ranging from fine-grained Particles to Rocky Blocks (---> Boulders) that are more than a yard - or one meter - across. The large Block visible in the top right (Dx) corner of the frame is about five yards - or meters - across. In the same corner, part of the structure of the Philae Lander is also visible.

This frame (which is an Original ESA - Philae Lander's b/w and NON Map-Projected image published on the NASA - Planetary Photojournal with the ID n. PIA 18878) 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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