15 incredible photos taken by the Rosetta spacecraft

You can browse more than 100,000 images from space. Here are our favorite shots.

comet from rosetta image gallery
During the final two months Rosetta traveled 1.2 miles (2 km) from the comet and was able to capture detailed images of the surface. This image was taken on Sept., 17 2016, during the craft’s fourteenth ellipse.SA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

The European Space Agency uploaded the final images from the Rosetta mission to comet 67P earlier this week and the results are quite dazzling. Rosetta was the first spacecraft to orbit a comet and over the course of its 12 year mission, the craft captured nearly 100,000 images from space using both a narrow and wide angle camera.

During the final months of Rosetta’s journey the spacecraft shot images from approximately a mile away from the surface of the comet—documenting previously unseen details from its surface.

“The final set of images supplements the rich treasure chest of data that the scientific community are already delving into in order to really understand this comet from all perspectives – not just from images but also from the gas, dust and plasma angle – and to explore the role of comets in general in our ideas of Solar System formation,” says Matt Taylor, ESA’s Rosetta project scientist. “There are certainly plenty of mysteries, and plenty still to discover.

All images from Rosetta's mission are all available for free through a Creative Commons license and are available for download through Archive Image Browser or Planetary Science Archive .

These are some of our favorite shots captured by Rosetta during its time in space.

Philae spacecraft on comet
Look for the thin vertical line with a broad top on the left hand edge of this image. It’s one of the legs of the Philae lander, which was lost soon after touching down in 2014. Rosetta finally located Philae’s final resting place in September 2016.SA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA
comet storm dust
During the two years that Rosetta flew alongside comet 67P it was bombarded with dust grains coming from the comet’s surface. The streaks in this image are the dust grains passing by Rosetta’s camera and was captured with a 146 second exposure. Studying this beautiful dust will hopefully give scientists a better understanding of how comets develop.SA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA
plume of space dust
A plume of dust from comet 67P captured on July, 3 2016.SA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA
comet image from rosetta mission
Captured in May 2015 this image was taken the same month that Rosetta first detected organohalogen methyl chloride. It was the first time the substance had been found in space.SA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA
xenon found on comet 67P
Taken during a three week period when Rosetta flew close to the nucleus of the comet searching for xenon. The xenon found on comet 67P closely resembled the mixture that is believed to have been delivered to Earth during the formation of our solar system.SA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA
67P captured
67P captured during Rosetta’s final descent on Sept., 30 2016.SA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA
67P photographed 59.5 miles from the comet’s nucleus
67P photographed 59.5 miles from the comet’s nucleus. Captured Dec., 18, 2015.SA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA
Philae spacecraft on comet
This image was taken about half an hour before the Philae spacecraft touched down on the comet’s surface. Captured November 2014.SA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA
philae landed on comet
This image shows that Philae landed safely on the surface of the comet.SA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA
rosetta image of moon
Rosetta captures the moon on Nov. 13, 2007, approximately nine hours after its closest approach to Earth. A neutral density filter was used to reduce the sensitivity of the camera on board.ESA ©2007 MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/RSSD/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA
impact crater on comet
An impact crater detected on the surface of comet 67P. Taken Sept. 2014.ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA
comet active regions
This image documents the diversity of the comet’s active regions. Captured Sept. 20, 2014 from a distance of 16.1 miles.ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA
rosettas shadow on comet
Captured on Valentine’s Day 2015, Rosetta’s shadow can be seen on the surface of the comet because of the sun, the spacecraft and the comet being perfectly aligned.ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA
comet rosetta image gallery
Comet captured on March 27, 2016 when Rosetta was 204.4 miles from the nucleus of the comet.ESA/Rosetta/NavCam