ESA
Off World

Watch This Breathtaking, Close-Up Clip Of The Surface of A Distant Comet

This simple GIF will make your jaw drop.

It was a landmark feat: a space mission entered the orbit of a distant comet for the first time.

The European Space Agency’s Rosetta rendezvoused with Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in the outer reaches of the Solar System.

After ten years of traveling through deep space, powered mainly by solar cells, Rosetta neared the comet not far (relatively speaking) from the orbit of Jupiter, and started circling it.

In November 2014, Rosetta released a tiny lander onto the mysterious comet to have a closer look — the first time we’ve ever dispatched a robotic lander on a comet’s rocky surface.

And the view was breathtaking. The lander sent back a series of images straight from the surface of 67P. A couple of years later, Twitter user Iandru79 created this animated short clip from a series of long exposures, taken back in 2016.

You know what, you should really just watch it:

If you want to follow up with Rosetta, and find out where it is right now (plus, you’ll hear some spooky atmospheric music while you track it down), click here.

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