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What Other Scientists Are Saying About Today's "Life on a Comet" Claim

This morning, several news outlets gave voice to an extraordinary claim: Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, where the spacecraft Philae awoke last month, could be home to alien life. But extraordinary claims, we all know, require extraordinary evidence. So guess what these morning’s claims were lacking! » 7/06/15 2:58pm 7/06/15 2:58pm

The Ultimate Shadow Selfie: Rosetta's Silhouette On Comet 67P

This brand new image from the OSIRIS scientific imaging camera of European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft reveals two fascinating things. First, we have an incredibly detailed view of the surface of Comet 67P. Second, look at that fuzzy, dark patch at the bottom of the photo—it's the shadow of the spacecraft itself! » 3/03/15 7:30am 3/03/15 7:30am

An Unexpected Discovery On The Surface Of Rosetta's Comet

Scientists have presented their initial observations of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in seven articles published Thursday in the journal Science. Among the more surprising finds: images of ripples and dunes on the comet's surface, unexpected given that the comet lacks an atmosphere (and therefore wind) and… » 1/23/15 10:04am 1/23/15 10:04am

New photo reveals titanic cliffs on Rosetta's comet

Just when I thought I had enough of Rosetta's photos of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, ESA has released this four-image mosaic that shows an incredible cliff more than one kilometer (0.62 miles) high. The image was taken from a distance of 20.1 kilometer on December 10. Here's another version, zoomed out. » 12/23/14 8:09pm 12/23/14 8:09pm

We're Running Out of the Nuclear Fuel That Powers Space Travel

Rosetta's lander lasted just 60 hours on a comet after it bounced into the dark shadows of a cliff, where its solar panels couldn't power the vehicle. Why didn't it carry a more reliable power source, say a nuclear battery like one that's unfailingly fueled Voyager for decades? It's a simple question with a… » 12/02/14 12:30pm 12/02/14 12:30pm

Rosetta's Lander Has Found Organic Molecules on a Comet 

Philae, the probe that landed on a comet as part of the Rosetta mission, has detected organic molecules in the comet's atmosphere. We don't know exactly what the molecules are yet, but they could hold a key to early life on Earth. Hell, this is a big reason we sent Rosetta all the way to a lonely comet in the first… » 11/18/14 2:04pm 11/18/14 2:04pm

Philae Bouncing Off the Comet, Caught in Amazing Rosetta Images

Everyone's favorite underdog lander, Philae, was traveling at about 1.6 feet per second as she zoomed towards the formidable chunk of ice and rock known as 67P. That was slow enough that her mothership Rosetta was actually able to capture the descent in images released today by the ESA. » 11/17/14 10:31am 11/17/14 10:31am

Conspiracy Theorists Are Having a Field Day With Philae

As is true with almost any spacefaring mission, conspiracy theorists are eager to deconstruct and point out the LIES! our government space agencies are telling us, and of course, the ESA's recently successful Philae mission is no exception. But I've got to say, this conspiracy tale would make a great book. » 11/16/14 11:00am 11/16/14 11:00am

Rosetta's Lander Is Now Asleep on the Comet, Waiting For a Brighter Sun

Goodnight, Philae, though not, we hope, goodbye. The lander is now in sleep mode, keeping "all instruments and most systems on board shut down." Thankfully, engineers managed to gather all the collected comet data before Philae's batteries were depleted. If we're lucky, it may wake up when it gets closer to the Sun. » 11/14/14 9:00pm 11/14/14 9:00pm

First comet drilling ever confirmed: 100% successful mission, says ESA

Against all odds, Philae has confirmed that the first ever drilling of a comet has happened! ESA has received telemetry data indicating that the drill worked. They also managed to send ALL data before going into sleep mode. What is Philae going to find? Perhaps the building blocks of life? UPDATE 5. » 11/14/14 6:51pm 11/14/14 6:51pm