The Mountains of Agilkia

I just made this digital flyby of the mountains of Agilkia. OSIRIS frame draped ofer my latest digital terrainmodel of the landing area.

Sleep well little Philae. What a grand view you have!

Image credits:


6 thoughts on “The Mountains of Agilkia”

  1. Hi Mattias, great job! have you an idea about the reason why ESA is not releasing simulations, processed images regarding the lander position?

    Difficult to me to understand…

    It seems they want to hide the complete disaster of the Rosetta Mission



  2. Michele.

    Lets be very clear here. There is absolutely no disaster whatsoever. They landed on the comet. They touched down within meters from their predicted landing spot. An utterly amazing technical achievement in itself.

    Now two of their redundant systems for anchoring at landing failed. But since they along with many many systems on the lander/orbiter has redundancy it only meant that the lander did not anchor to the surface exactly where they had intended.

    Instead it bounced and landed a couple of hundred meters away. The location is not yet exactly determined but they know within 100 meters. (They have released increasingly exact predictions over time as images and in text.)

    The landing site they ended up in Is scientifically even more interesting than the original touchdown area.

    They got almost all the science they had intended done on that location.

    The new landing site have very little light reaching it at this point in the comets changing season. That meant that the lander’s batteries had to be used instead of the solar arrays. In the end they ran out and the lander went into hibernation.

    Sometime this spring/summer the lighting will be much more favorable and the lander will probably spring back to “life” again and we can get even more science done.

    So it is not a disaster by any stretch of the imagination. I would rather say that it is a success of monumental proportions.


  3. I agree with you entirely, Mattias.

    Yes, Philae did suffer an unfortunately unlucky landing, but hell, it survived!

    Thanks for your animations. They have helped me understand the nature of Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko (yes, I have anaglyphic “glasses”).

    I have shown your movies at meetings of the Space Association of Australia (I actually have fifty pairs of “glasses”), accessed from your website (found via the ESA Rosetta blog).

    Today I discovered you also have posted these on YouTube, and was amazed at how few “hits” they have recieved. I would have thought millions, but it is only hundreds. I am not very social media savvy, but we gotta fix that! Everyone should see your efforts.

    Thanks again, I appreciate a lot of effort has gone into these movies.

    Andrew Rennie
    The Space Show
    88.2 Southern FM

  4. Hi Mattias, I don’t agree with you because here we are not talking about an amateur mission but ESA with a huge money, time and human resources investment. As engineer I think that if one of their redundant anchoring system failed and the anchoring were incomplete it means there was a bad design over there! Mission accomplished means anchoring the lander in the intended exact point. is it possible they have not thought about possible bouncing due to lander system failures? It’s not what we can expect from ESA…
    today after 1 months they don’t have a precise idea of the lander position. it has not landed within 100 meters from the intended point but we are talking about 1 km, probably in a point that is in the dark depression of the smaller lobe of the comet. how can they think to wake up the lander in a shadowed area?

    thank you again for your job



  5. Then we will just have to disagree with each other. I am of the view that it is a tremendous success. Almost all the science operations that the lander was supposed to achieve was performed. Obviously there will be an investigation of every aspect of the failed systems but to call the mission a failure is a very harsh judgement.

  6. @michelle,

    How would you qualify the following scenario, driving eyes blind in an absolutly never seen before location with a steering 500millions kms from the wheels and with latency of close to one hour and be able to do all that you planned 20 years ago almost as per the book?

    This is pure exploration here, January 2014 the shape/terrain was not even known and still today large amount of data still to be processed.

    As regarding nitrocellulose failure after long time in vaccum, they “sort of” knew already since 2013 – 9 years after the launch – but there is not repair service that could have address the issue.

    You seems to forget this is a premiere for man kind, landing on an objet that distant, that small, that unknown with that weak gravity. And the mission is not over – still to continue until mid-2016 with or w/o Philae

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