On the 3rd of December, the Japanese space agency has launched the Hayabusa 2 probe towards a primitive asteroid, named 1999JU3, that it will reach in 2018. This mission aims at analyzing this object in three complementary ways: in remote-sensing, with cameras and spectrometers; in-situ, with instruments on landers; and by laboratory analysis of samples that will be collected on the asteroid and returned to Earth in 2021.
After a fascinating sequence, with a descent phase perfectly as planned and an impact at a few tens of metres from the selected site followed by two rebounds, Philae finally stopped in a hollow surrounded by cliffs, in an acrobatic position. It is the first panorama taken by the CIVA cameras developed under IAS responsibility which has demonstrated this, confirming the first major success of the mission: Philae has landed and has operated on the nucleus of comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko!
On October the 7th, one of the CIVA cameras took a new striking image of Rosetta with comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko in the background, at only 16 km. The CIVA instrument on the Philae lander (now still attached to the Rosetta orbiter) is a suite of cameras which were developed under IAS responsibility.
The target region of Rosetta’s lander Philae has been selected: the site offers a unique scientific potential with hints of activity nearby, minimum risks to the lander and good conditions to exploit energy resources. Landing is scheduled for November 11.
Two months prior to its separation, descent, and landing on the Churyumov-Gerasimenko nucleus, the Philae lander of the ESA Rosetta mission delivers its first images of the comet. The 7 micro-cameras of the CIVA instrument, designed and developed under IAS responsibility, will acquire the full 360° panorama of the landing site.