Watch Rosetta Make Its Historic Rendezvous With A Comet, Live!
It is a mission that has been over 10 years in the making, but in the wee small hours of tomorrow morning ESA's Rosetta spacecraft will finally get its chance to rendezvous with Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Everything will be aired live over at the ESA Website, and we urge you to witness these historic events unfold over 550 million km away from our Sun.
Rosetta was launched all the way back in March 2004, it then proceeded to make its way across our solar system before entering a 31 month hibernation period. In January of this year, the ESA successfully awakened their intrepid spacecraft out of its lengthy deep space nap before sending it on its way to intercept Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko as it hurtles through space at over 55,000 Km H.
(Credit: ESA/C. Carreau/ATG Medialab)
At approximately 8:45am GMT (3:45am EST) on Wednesday 6th August, Rosetta will start an engine burn that will last for almost seven minutes and see the spacecraft enter Comet 67P's orbit. Once locked in orbit, Rosetta will begin to execute a series of triangular loops around the comet, bringing it closer and closer to the space rock's surface.
In November of this year, one of the most exciting phases of the mission will begin when Rosetta attempts to place its Philae Lander spacecraft onto the surface of the comet. If it lands successfully, Philae will begin taking readings of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko's chemical composition. Findings from missions such as Rosetta could eventually shed light on the origins of life on our planet. Many researchers theorize that organic matter was brought to our planet on the back of comets that pummeled our planet's surface.
For a full rundown on Rosetta's epic journey across space, check out the interactive mission map below: