You must need patience to work on Europe's Rosetta comet mission. Launched in 2004, the spacecraft won't arrive at its main destination, Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, until 2014. That's longer than
Tomorrow morning comes the last of these gravitational boosts: Rosetta will pass within 1500 miles of a point above the Indonesian island of Java at about 8:45 a.m. European central time.
The picture above is Rosetta's most recent view of Earth, returned just today from a distance of 393,000 miles as the spacecraft approached our planet.
But I prefer the beauty below, taken during the probe's last visit exactly two years ago. It isn't often that you see both the color sunlit crescent (bottom) and the lights of Earth's cities at night.