First and foremost a realm of pictorial representation, astronomy produces a wide variety of images for all purposes. Beyond scientific methods of measuring and visualising, astronomical images often serve to imagine distant planets and galaxies both for a professional and the public audience, thus significantly shaping our understanding of the universe. When the European mission to the comet Tschurjumow-Gerassimenko finally reached its destination in 2014, a mine of broadcasted images was released to the public, including pictures of the celestial body shot from aboard the Rosetta probe and its lander on the ground. Space agencies such as ESA invest a sizeable portion of their expenditures in press and marketing relation in order to arouse public interest and secure future fundings. However, many of the published images end up in a context that obscures their informative content in order to emphasise their aesthetic value. Some of these restrictive curtailments are made on behalf of the space agencies, other by the media and the public.
The above video results from data obtained from an ESA server that was transformed into a 3D model. It is a photorealistic representation of the comet, however, not a photographic but a computed depiction that reveals the aesthetic and informational restrictions of such data. It underlines prevalent inconsistencies in the collective memory and image culture of space travel as well as the limitations of imaging methods that are probabilistic and uncertain by nature.