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(ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM/CC BY-SA IGO 3.0/Jason Mayor)

A Stunning New Video Shows a Comet's Surface as It Hurtles Through Space

This is the most beautiful thing we've seen today.

DAVE MOSHER, BUSINESS INSIDER
25 APR 2018

In August 2014, the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft pulled up to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and studied the gritty, duck-shaped object for 2 years.

Today the ESA continues to publish new images taken by the probe, and in March it released a fresh batch of data.

 

Many of Rosetta's photos were taken in sequence – so Twitter user "landru79" stacked and stitched the pictures into a stunning new timelapse movie, posted Monday.

"Amazing scene from #comet #67P," the ESA tweeted about landru79's work.

The video clip (below) shows roughly 25 minutes of flight past Comet 67P on June 1, 2016. The scene looks like something out of a science-fiction film:


In the background, a field of stars moves behind Comet 67P as it tumbles through space.

Rosetta took the photos just a few months after the roughly 2.5-mile-long comet shot out a burst of material. So in the foreground, sunlit specks of ice and dust float near a cliff that stands thousands of feet tall.

Cosmic rays also hit Rosetta's camera sensor, causing white streaks in the series of black-and-white images.

In addition to photographing Comet 67P, Rosetta also set down a probe called Philae on the comet's surface – though the lander rolled into a shady crevice and was never heard from again.

On September 30, 2016, the ESA purposefully crashed Rosetta into the wad of ice, rock, and dust. The robot took a final and fateful sequence of images along the way.

This article was originally published by Business Insider.

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