News / 

Rosetta space probe sees bright flares, landslide on comet

Rosetta space probe sees bright flares, landslide on comet

1 photo

Estimated read time: Less than a minute

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

BERLIN (AP) — The European Space Agency's Rosetta space probe has captured images of a bright burst of light on the comet it is orbiting, apparently caused by a landslide.

The dramatic light flashes were recorded Feb. 19 and accompanied by rising temperatures and sharp increases in dust, gas and plasma released from comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

Eberhard Gruen of the Max-Planck-Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, Germany, said Thursday a landslide on the comet's surface was most likely responsible.

The flashes would have been generated by light reflecting from dust particles kicked up by the landslide.

The European Space Agency plans to crash-land Rosetta on the comet's surface Sept. 30, more than two years after it started orbiting the comet.

Data collected by Rosetta and its lander, Philae, have improved scientists' understanding of comets.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Most recent News stories

The Associated Press


    Catch up on the top news and features from, sent weekly.
    By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

    KSL Weather Forecast