Track Rosetta As It Chases Down A Comet

Thursday, 23 January 2014 - 12:06PM
NASA
Philae/Rosetta
Astronomy
Thursday, 23 January 2014 - 12:06PM
Track Rosetta As It Chases Down A Comet

After waking up from its 31 month slumber in deep space, the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft must now move into position to intercept Comet 67p. And yes, intercepting a comet is exactly as hard as it sounds. In order to do so, Rosetta must match the speed of Comet 67p, which is currently hurtling through space at a staggering 40,000 km/h. Now, thanks to the ESA and this website you can track every step in what must surely be the first real high speed space chase in history.

 

The site not only lets you view where Rosetta is in our solar system today, but it shows you just how it got there. Clicking the play button initiates an animated visualization of Rosetta's many 'slingshot' maneuvers which helped it get up to the awesome speed needed to cruise alongside a 4km wide comet. Scrolling around will give you a different perspective of Rosetta's path and zooming out will show you that it has travelled so far it has ventured beyond the orbit of Jupiter, approximately 800 million km from Earth.

 

Once Rosetta crosses paths with Comet 67p, it will attempt to land the Philae spacecraft on its surface which will embark on the first ever exploration of an object widely regarded as one of the building blocks of our universe.

Science
Space
NASA
Philae/Rosetta
Astronomy