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High-resolution images taken by the Rosetta space probe during a Valentine's Day swoop close to the comet it's been tracking for months show boulders on the comet's surface, as well as "stunning details of the contrasting terrain," the European Space Agency said Monday.
ESA said the boulders ranged in size from a few meters (yards) to a few tens of meters, and lay "scattered across the whole surface of the comet." The sun was directly behind Rosetta as the pictures were taken, providing optimal light conditions.
Rosetta's instruments also sampled the innermost parts of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko's atmosphere as it swooped in as close as 6 kilometers (4 miles) Saturday to take the pictures. Rosetta, which has been alongside the comet since August, is now moving out to take far-view images.