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Rosetta probe set to catch comet after ten year chase

RATE THIS! +42
Posted in Science on 6th Aug, 2014 02:59 AM by AlexMuller

After a journey that has lasted a decade, Europe's Rosetta spacecraft is now on its final approach to a comet. The tiny probe is set to rendezvous on Wednesday with one of the strangest objects in the solar system. The latest in a series of manoeuvres will bring Rosetta to within 100km of Comet 67P.

 
Throughout human history, comets lighting up the night sky have triggered fascination and fear but their speed and distance have made them difficult to investigate. One theory is that they delivered water, carbon and other essential building-blocks for life to the early Earth. Previous missions have had to be fly-bys - brief encounters crossing a comet's path to gather data or collect samples of dust.
 
By contrast, Rosetta is designed to fly around comet 67P in a form of orbit for more than a year, its 11 instruments providing unprecedented information about the comet's structure and composition. If all goes according to plan by November, mission managers will pick a spot for what will be an audacious attempt to send a lander, known as Philae, to touch down. For the moment though, all eyes will be on Wednesday's landmark manoeuvre which should bring Rosetta into a controlled flight in a triangular pattern around the comet.

Tags: cometspacesolar systemEarth

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Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-08-06
+2
This is unique and exciting project and anticipations and hopes are high! Good luck! Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-08-06
+2
I think that Rosetta has embarked on one of the most daring
missions ever attempted -landing on a comet which is hurtling through space at
24,600 mph. See this happen! Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-08-06
+1
Rosetta is amazing. I found that it is the first spacecraft that flies beyond the orbit of Mars with solar panels! Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-08-06
+2
The comet that Rosetta is chasing is also amazing. Comet has almost no gravity, so Rosetta will have to use harpoons and ice anchors to clamp on to the surface.
It will study the gas and water vapour that will boil off and the chemical signature of hydrogen on the comet.
2 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-08-06
+1
Yes, since comets are the remnants of the earliest days of the solar system, it is hoped that the spacecraft will help reveal how the system evolved and whether there is a link to the emergence of life on the early Earth. Great hopes! Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-08-06
+1
I found that it is because Rosetta oprates on solar energy alone, it was placed into a deep sleep in mid-2011 in order to conserve energy as it cruised far away from the Sun. It has been out of contact with Earth until recently. Reply


 

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