The Philae lander of the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission took this parting shot of its mother ship, Rosetta, shortly after separation on Nov. 12, 2014. The image was taken with the lander's CIVA-P imaging system and captures one of Rosetta's 46-foot-long (14-meter-long) solar arrays. It was stored onboard the lander until the radio link was established with Rosetta around two hours after separation, and then relayed to Earth.
The lander separated from the orbiter at 09:03 UTC (1:03 a.m. PST) for a planned touch down on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko seven hours later.
Rosetta and Philae had been riding through space together for more than 10 years. While Philae is set to become the first probe to land on a comet, Rosetta is already the first to rendezvous with a comet and follow it around the sun. The information collected by Philae at one location on the surface will complement that collected by the Rosetta orbiter for the entire comet.
Rosetta is a European Space Agency mission with contributions from its member states and NASA. Rosetta's Philae lander is provided by a consortium led by the German Aerospace Center, Cologne; Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Gottingen; French National Space Agency, Paris; and the Italian Space Agency, Rome. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages the U.S. participation in the Rosetta mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Rosetta carries three NASA instruments in its 21-instrument payload.
For more information on the U.S. instruments aboard Rosetta, visit http://rosetta.jpl.nasa.gov.
More information about Rosetta is available at http://www.esa.int/rosetta.
For publicly released image use, see ESA's Copyright Notice Images.