After its long-awaited wake-up on January 20, the European spacecraft Rosetta resumed a ten-year journey to meet with the returning comet 67P / Churimov-Gerasimenko, which recently reappeared from behind the Sun when viewed from Earth.
The above image captures a comet. This is how it looked in the Very Large Telescope ESO (VLT) telescope in Chile on February 28th. The left image shows a comet among the background star trails, and the comet itself lies above the star paths. The right image was obtained as a result of multiple blending of images and removal of starlight.
These are the first observations of 67P / Churim-Gerasimenko made by the VLT since October. Since then, a comet 4 km wide has increased in brightness by about 50 percent, indicating melting of ice on its surface. Rosette and her descent vehicle Fillets are currently awakened from sleep after nearly two and a half years of hibernation. Launched in March 2004, the spacecraft in May of this year will meet with a comet and enter its orbit in August. In November, the Fillet will land on the surface of the comet, and will carry out scientific research when the comet approaches the closest distance to the Sun in August 2015.
Rosette will be the first spacecraft to come into orbit and land a probe on its surface. It will also be the first spacecraft to rotate around a comet, while it will fly up to the inner region of the solar system. Thus, Rosetta will be able to observe how comet 67P / Churimov-Gerasimenko will change under the influence of solar heat.