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Rosetta’s camera captures new images of comet’s terrifyingly rugged landscape

Rosetta’s camera captures new images of comet’s terrifyingly rugged landscape

HONG KONG: Images of a comet hurtling from space some 400 million kilometers from the earth have supplied a unique glimpse of its strange and imposing celestial landscape.
The breathtaking series of Comet 67P was captured by the Rosetta, an unmanned spacecraft launched by the European Space Agency which began orbiting the 4km comet in August before deploying the Philar lander to its surface, the Telegraph reports.
But the isolated structures and exaggerated elements – including the frighteningly vertical cliffs – were later identified by British astronomer Stuart Atkinson who clipped enlarged stills of the comet’s most stunning features.
“Well, Christmas came early for me today,” Mr Atkinson wrote on his blog after one of the stills was named NASA’s “Astronomy Picture of the Day”.
It is believed the walls of rock on Comet 67P, also known as Churyumov-Gerasimenko, are more than 800m high, but its low surface gravity means that a human could survive a tumble from its peak.
ESA lost contact with the Philae lander after a rocky landing saw the solar-charged craft come to rest in a location out of the sun’s reach.
But data sent from the orbiting Rosetta to ESA’s mission control in Germany indicates ice on the comet differs in composition from water on earth, dispelling speculation that it may have spawned life on this planet.
The Rosetta is scheduled to accompany the comet as it makes its closest approach to the sun in August 2015, by which time scientists hope the dishwasher-sized Philae may spring back to life.