Philae returns its first panoramic image of the surface of a comet, taken by its CIVA-P imaging system (part of the Comet Infrared and Visible Analyser, consisting of seven identical cameras that produce a 360° image). A sketch of the lander’s likely curr
A timeline of Rosetta’s journey through the solar system, from its launch in March 2004 through its rendezvous with comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko this past August and the descent of the lander this week.
This artist’s impression depicts Philae separating from Rosetta and descending to the surface of the comet.
As Philae fell away from the Rosetta spacecraft, the lander took a farewell snap. The image shows Rosetta's solar panels amid the glare and glint of sunlight.
A camera on Rosetta captures the lander against the black background of space as it falls to the surface of the comet.
Alone in space: Rosetta’s OSIRIS wide-angle camera watches as Philae (circled) heads for the comet’s surface.
Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, taken by Philae’s down-looking ROLIS instrument (for ROsetta Lander Imaging System), which snapped pictures during the descent. Philae is now about 3 kilometers away from the surface.
Philae’s ROLIS imager snapped this picture of the comet’s dust- and debris-covered surface when the lander was about 40 meters from touchdown.
Welcome, Philae! One of the lander’s early pictures from the comet’s surface shows one of its three feet in the foreground and some of the comet material.
The red cross marks the lander’s first touchdown point (before it bounced twice and then settled on the surface). (The image was taken by Rosetta’s OSIRIS narrow-angle camera).

Slideshow: The best of this week’s comet pictures

In the European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) control room in Darmstadt, Germany, the mood was anxious and all eyes were glued to the mission control computer screens as a spidery, three-legged lander named Philae detached from its parent spacecraft, Rosetta, and made its slow descent to the surface of a comet—and cheers and hugging broke out on 12 November when the control room received confirmation that the lander had arrived. The end may already be nigh for the lander—after bouncing on the surface, the craft appears to have settled in the shadow of a wall of material, preventing it from receiving enough sunlight to its solar cells to function for more than a few days—but ESA counts the mission as a major success. Images of Philae’s journey—haunting and stark—tell its story