La Rivista del Nuovo Cimento
Year 2017 - Issue 8 - August
Abstract: The paper reviews properties of comets, from historical sightings and interpretations, to contemporary ground- and space-based knowledge. The importance of comets in understanding the present Solar System and its dynamical, physical and chemical evolution, their relationship with other minor bodies, their possible role for the very early phases of our Earth, will be examined. Emphasis will be on the results of the recently completed European Rosetta mission to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, in particular those by OSIRIS, its imaging system. It is fair to say that Rosetta's results represent a most important step in the development of cometary science, whose full implications start just to surface and will be fully appreciated over several more years.