Landscape of the Imhotep region on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

Landscape of the Imhotep region on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.
Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

 

 

The European Space Agency’s Rosetta orbiter cruising along with Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko continues to churn out staggering up-close images of the celestial wanderer.

One of those images shows the comet area known as Imhotep.

This smooth dusty terrain covers about 0.8 square kilometers etched with curvilinear features stretching hundreds of meters and which have been found to change in appearance over time.

Many large boulders are scattered within the smooth terrain, including the boulder Cheops. Smaller but more numerous boulders are associated with exposed cliff faces and are most likely the product of erosion.

Water ice revealed

As noted in a European Space Agency (ESA) statement, in some debris falls, detailed analysis has revealed the presence of water ice on the comet.

Particularly eye-catching is the new image is distinctive layered and fractured material. Similar patterns are also seen in exposed cliff-like faces where Imhotep transitions into the Khepry region.

Lastly, a number of small round features are visible. They have a well-defined rim with a smooth interior and appear slightly raised from the surrounding material.

“One explanation for their appearance is that they are ancient sites of active regions covered by dust and are now being revealed by varying erosion of the overlying layers,” the ESA press statement explains.

To take your own cruise around the comet, make use of this viewer tool to aid navigation around the comet’s regions.

http://sci.esa.int/comet-viewer/

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