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article imageFirst color image of Comet 67P, and it's gray

By Tim Sandle     Dec 15, 2014 in Science
The first color image from the Rosetta spacecraft shows that Comet 67P has been released by the European Space Agency and, somewhat disappointingly, it is grey.
The first color image ever to be shot from a comet at close range has been released. The image indicates that Comet 67P, which appears grey from standard photography, is even more dark and monochrome than expected.
Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko (67P) has been in the news recently, especially in relation to the comet lander Philae, which was sent down from the Rosetta spacecraft. Philae, although operational only for a short time, had the science world buzzing with reports or organic matter and ice crystals recovered from the surface of the comet.
The new image of the comet was carefully put together from three images taken with red, green and blue filters. This was designed to capture the comet the way that it would appear to the human eye. Despite this, the image is effectively black and white. Moreover there is little variation, and the "grey-ness" is almost completely uniform. The image was constructed by Rosetta's Osiris Narrow Angle camera. There is also no indication of ice, which scientists, according to the BBC, think is buried beneath the vast layers of dust which cover the comet's surface.
The new picture was issued by the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, which leads the consortium behind the camera.
Some cosmologists had speculated that the comet would appear red. However, 67 shades of grey seems to be the answer.
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