This image was taken by the Philae lander of the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission when it was about 130 feet (40 meters) above the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko during descent to the surface on Nov. 12, 2014. Philae took the image with its ROsetta Lander Imaging System (ROLIS).
The view shows that the surface of the comet is covered by dust and debris ranging from fine-grain particles to blocks more than a yard or meter across. The large block in the top right corner is about five yards or meters across. In the same corner the structure of the Philae lander is visible.
The ROLIS instrument is a down-looking imager that acquires images during the descent and doubles as a multispectral close-up camera after the landing. The aim of the ROLIS experiment is to study the texture and microstructure of the comet's surface. It was developed by the German Aerospace Center's Institute of Planetary Research, Berlin.
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. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 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.