European Space Agency Releases New 3D Images of Comet 67P

Share this Article

I remember the first time I saw a comet. People had been talking about the upcoming appearance of the comet Hale-Bopp for days; it was expected to be the brightest, most visible comet anyone had seen in years. Being a kid at the time, I had no idea what an actual comet would look like; I was expecting a massive fireball to go streaking across the sky. When I saw that it was actually just a small smudge of light among the stars, I was a bit disappointed. I now know, years later, that I had witnessed something amazing.

Comet_on_22_November_2015_NavCam_REqually amazing is the fact that comets, those little smudges of light, can now be studied so closely that every crater, ridge, and bump on their surfaces can be not only seen, but rendered in 3D. Last year, we wrote about Rosetta, the European Space Agency’s (ESA) “comet chaser” which, in November 2014, made history when it became the first-ever spacecraft to orbit a comet’s nucleus and land a probe on its surface. Before the landing of the probe, Rosetta had been capturing incredibly detailed images of comet  67P/Churyumov-Gersimenko, which were then used to create a 3D model. The files were released to the public, allowing even casual space enthusiasts to print their own replicas of the comet.

Shape_Nov15One year later, the ESA has released a new shape model of 67P, a more detailed representation that includes parts of the comet that were not previously visible. The model, which now includes the comet’s southern hemisphere, is based on images that Rosetta’s cameras took from May to August of 2015. On August 13, 67P reached perihelion, which is the point at which it passes closest to the sun in its 6.5-year orbit. At that time, the southern hemisphere, aka the comet’s “dark side,” became illuminated by the sun, allowing it to be not only photographed but scanned by the Microwave Instrument for Rosetta (MIRO).

rosetta

The Rosetta orbiter was launched in 2004, and will end its mission next September in dramatic fashion, when it will crash into the comet. The crash landing is expected to reveal more detailed information than ever before, as the orbiter will continue to gather data as it descends towards 67P’s surface. Until then, you can print out the most accurate and detailed representation of 67P to date by accessing the files here. If you don’t have access to a 3D printer, you can still have fun with the comet by checking out this interactive 3D visualization tool, which lets you zoom in, see different angles, and look at the pictures taken by Rosetta from each point in its orbit. You can also see all of the images taken so far at the ESA’s Archive Image Browser.

darkside

When I saw my first comet, the only sort of celestial replicas I had were the glow in the dark stickers of comets, planets and stars that I had put all over my ceiling. I never imagined, at that time, that one day I would be able to hold an accurate representation of an actual comet in my hand.  Have you downloaded these new models?  Let us know in the 3D Printable Rosetta Comet forum thread on 3DPB.com.

Facebook Comments

Share this Article


Related Articles

Project Imperial Consortium to Create Large Scale 3D Printer for Zero Gravity

BEEVERYCREATIVE Continues Work with ESA: New ISS 3D Printer to be Developed



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

Interview with Patrik Ohldin of Open Source Metal 3D Printing Company Freemelt

I’ve known Patrik Ohldin for a long time as a supremely knowledgeable metal printing guy. He’s been working in metal 3D printing for over 14 years, 12 of those as...

An Assessment of the Conditions Needed for 3D Printing A Village on the Moon

For a few years now, the European Space Agency (ESA) has been talking seriously about building a habitable village on the moon, and 3D printing is a big part of...

Oerlikon and RUAG Ink Space Deal while Additive Industries and LPW do the same

Mayday, Farnborough, we’re running out of champagne. If you’re slowly but surely getting the impression that a lot of deals are being signed at the Farnborough Airshow, you would be...

ETH Zurich Researchers Develop 4D Printed Load-Bearing Polymer Structures

There are numerous issues involved with transporting things into space, one being that some of them are just too big and bulky. One solution is to make those items small...


Training


Shop

View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.


Print Services

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our 3DPrint.com.

You have Successfully Subscribed!