We'll be publishing updates of science results from the fly-by as they're available on the ESA Rosetta site.
The Rosetta blog will be back online again in November 2009, for the third Earth swing-by. In the meantime, ESA will host blogs for other exciting events. Check the ESA portal for regular news and updates.
Thanks a lot for all your great enthusiasm over the last few days!
An animation of the closest approach of Rosetta to asteroid Steins, taken with the OSIRIS imaging system’s Wide Angle Camera. The image sequence starts 3 minutes before closest approach, from a distance of about 2000 km and ends 4 minutes after closest approach. At the start of the animation, the sun illuminated the asteroid from behind the spacecraft and no shadows are visible on the its surface. Later, the sunlight is incident from the left, and craters and more surface features become visible.
The first image data is in now and the team is analysing it
as I type. So far it looks very promising, and we expect to publish some amazing
images at 13:00 hrs.
The download of the OSIRIS imaging system data started at
02:00 CEST, and is still ongoing.
The VIRTIS (infrared spectrometer) data download began an
hour ago, and will be completed in about two hours. We’ve heard that the team
in Italy at INAF, Rome, is on stand-by, and
are eager to get their hands on the data.
We’ve also just been told that the housekeeping data for
VIRTIS looks nominal.
Flight Director Paolo Ferri, speaking in the Rosetta control room a few moments ago:
"It's not a spacecraft, it's a rock. It's solid like a rock - it's incredible!"
For the rest of the night, things will be fairly quiet here.
The Rosetta team are expecting the next data download opportunity via NASA Goldstone starting at about 01:00 CEST, 6 Sep. Image and science data will start arriving about 02:00, and the science teams will work through to process the results. We'll log off now and plan to be back on for blog & web coverage starting at about 08:00 CEST, 6 September.
Thanks for the fantastic comments you've been posting! We've passed these along to the flight control team, and your support and enthusiasm have really helped tonight! -- Daniel
Spacecraft Operations Manager (SOM) Andrea Accomazzo has just confirmed **acquisition of signal** from Rosetta via NASA's Goldstone ground station. Data is now being received at the Rosetta Dedicated Control Room at ESA's European Space Operations Centre (ESOC), Darmstadt, Germany. The entire Flight Control Team just let out a loud cheer! :-) :-) -- Daniel
Between 40 and 20 minutes before closest approach, Rosetta will be flipped and readied to enter the asteroid fly-by mode (AFM). During this mode, the orientation of the spacecraft is automatically driven by the navigation cameras to continuously keep the asteroid in the field of view of the imaging instruments. -- Daniel