Image of the Day: Behold a spacecraft flying 250 million miles from Earth

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Sep 18, 2014, 10:14 AM EDT

Want to see what happens when a spacecraft takes a selfie more than 250 million miles away from the Earth? This, and it’s absolutely stunning.

The Rosetta robotic space probe, built and launched by the European Space Agency (ESA) on a mission to study the comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, is almost at its destination — and the team used the onboard camera to snap the pic above to prove it.

Here’s the ESA’s official description of the photo:

Using the CIVA camera on Rosetta’s Philae lander, the spacecraft have snapped a ‘selfie’ at comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. The image was taken on 7 September from a distance of about 50 km from the comet, and captures the side of the Rosetta spacecraft and one of Rosetta’s 14 m-long solar wings, with 67P/C-G in the background. Two images with different exposure times were combined to bring out the faint details in this very high contrast situation.

The mission is an interesting one, and it’s breathtaking to get a peek at how things actually look all those millions of miles away. Space is a cold, dark place — and shots like this are a good reminder of just how huge an accomplishment it is to get a craft out there to learn a bit more about the cosmos.

(Via ESA, Sploid)