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Sci-Tech

Rosetta spacecraft snaps gorgeous selfie with its comet buddy

Rosetta took a moment out from eyeing the comet it's following and snapped a selfie that's literally out of this world.

Rosetta selfie
Rosetta poses with its comet in the background. ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA

The European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft is far, far from home after a 10-year-long mission to catch up to a comet, but that doesn't mean it's not in touch with Earth trends. The selfie phenomenon has already been well-established beyond our atmosphere, thanks in part to NASA's Curiosity rover on Mars. Rosetta is getting in on the action with a stunning snap taken with its friendly neighborhood comet in the background.

The selfie was captured with a camera that is part of the Philae lander's Comet Infrared and Visible Analyser, an instrument designed to help document the comet's surface once the lander is safely in place. The comet in the background is about 30 miles away from Rosetta. Rosetta's side and one of its solar arrays are visible. To give you an idea of the scale, the solar array is about 46 feet long.

The final selfie was patched together from two images with different exposure times to help highlight the details. The resulting image has a soft glow about it, almost like it was created as an illustration for a sci-fi project. As the photo shows, Rosetta has enough sense to stay away from the duck face.

The Rosetta team is currently working on choosing a landing site for Philae, a proposition that is challenging due to the comet's uneven terrain and the need to supply sufficient sunlight to the lander's solar panels. The winning landing site is expected to be announced September 15.