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Rosetta’s descent towards region of active pits

9 Sep 2016, 14:09 UTC
Rosetta’s descent towards region of active pits
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Squeezing out unique scientific observations until the very end, Rosetta’s thrilling mission will culminate with a descent on 30 September towards a region of active pits on the comet’s ‘head’.
Rosetta’s last week at the comet. Click for full caption.
The region, known as Ma’at, lies on the smaller of the two lobes of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. It is home to several active pits more than 100 m in diameter and 50–60 m in depth – where a number of the comet’s dust jets originate.
The walls of the pits also exhibit intriguing metre-sized lumpy structures called ‘goosebumps’, which scientists believe could be the signatures of early ‘cometesimals’ that assembled to create the comet in the early phases of Solar System formation.
Rosetta will get its closest look yet at these fascinating structures on 30 September: the spacecraft will target a point adjacent to a 130 m-wide, well-defined pit that the mission team has informally named Deir el-Medina, after a structure with a similar appearance in an ancient Egyptian town of the same name.
Rosetta's planned impact site, within a ~700 x 500 m ellipse. Click for high res and full caption and credit info.
Like the archaeological artefacts found inside ...

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