Rosetta Becomes First Spacecraft to Orbit a Comet, Sends Back Amazing Pictures

"Are we there yet?" "Yes!"
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Just a few hours ago, the European Space Agency’s Rosetta became the first satellite to orbit a comet! Now that she’s close enough, the spacecraft is sending back amazing, high resolution images of what the comet’s nucleus really looks like as she prepares to send her little brother, Philae, down to land on the surface.

It’s taken Rosetta 10 years, five months, and four days to finally reach comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, which meant a long nap and a lot of, “Are we there yet?” from Philae. Here’s a full view of what 67P really looks like—sadly, it is not a giant marshmallow Peep as we previously hypothesized. Comet_on_3_August_2014_node_full_image_2 The ESA has a whole gallery of closeup shots for you to browse to get an even better view. If you weren’t awake this morning to watch it live, you can also watch a full replay of the ESA coverage of the rendezvous: Now all that’s left is for Rosetta to scout out a safe landing spot for Philae, and the adorable pair will mark another first by landing a spacecraft on the surface of a comet.

(via ESA Rosetta Mission on Twitter, images via ESA/Rosetta)

Previously in Rosetta’s long journey

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Dan Van Winkle
Dan Van Winkle (he) is an editor and manager who has been working in digital media since 2013, first at now-defunct Geekosystem (RIP), and then at The Mary Sue starting in 2014, specializing in gaming, science, and technology. Outside of his professional experience, he has been active in video game modding and development as a hobby for many years. He lives in North Carolina with Lisa Brown (his wife) and Liz Lemon (their dog), both of whom are the best, and you will regret challenging him at Smash Bros.