Jan 17, 2019 | Updated: 03:16 PM EST

A Perfect Space Model—Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and Rosetta Mission

Oct 06, 2014 12:28 AM EDT


In a short few months, the European Space Agency's Rosetta Mission has achieved new heights since it reached the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Once entering orbit, it took the first cosmic selfie, analyzed the surface of the comet, and even reported unexpected temperature and composition anomalies that have astronomers perplexed as to why this comet is not simply made of cosmic ice. But now Rosetta may have provided everyone on Earth with a recipe for creating a life-like comet like Churyumov-Gerasimenko: assuming you have a 3D printer.

Releasing images last week in file types .wrl and .obj, the European Space Agency has made detailed images available from Rosetta's newest surveys that can easily be fabricate into a life-like model for anyone who has a 3D printer. And the images are quite precise. Scaled down when printed, the image indicates the dimensions of both lobes as being 2.5km x 2.5 km x 2.0km for the head, and 4.1km x 3.2km x 1.3 km for the comet's body. The 10 billion ton comet has recently revealed trace amounts of water, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, ammonia, methane, and methanol all in gaseous forms, in spite of the comet's surface temperature being between minus 68 and minus 43 degrees Celsius.

But Rosetta is soon to be expecting a far greater understanding of Comet 67P as it plans the deployment of the Philae lander, a rover that will roam the surface of the comet beginning November 12. While the current survey has cool applications in the fact that it can be precisely modelled to include all major features of its topography, the Philae lander will gain a far more in-depth view of the comet in weeks to come, including what the comet is exactly made of.

For those interested in seeing exactly what the surface of the comet looks like and where the Philae lander is projected to land, the ESA has made the images available on their site, with detailed instructions on creating a 3-dimensional model that may just give you a glimpse into space unlike you ever thought possible.

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