Rosetta Wakes Up From Almost 3 Years Of Deep Space Sleep
Monday 20th January 2014 was a day etched in the minds of pretty much everyone at the European Space Agency, because that was the day their spacecraft Rosetta would wake-up from a deep space slumber that had lasted 31 months. While it may have been sleeping for almost 3 years, Rosetta was actually launched all the way back in March 2004, after which it hurtled through space to reach its hibernation point, roughly 800 million km from Earth. Rosetta's distance from Earth and the complex procedures involved with emerging from such a lengthy hibernation mean that, while Rosetta was programmed to 'wake-up' at 10am GMT, the ESA team wouldn't find out if it has done so successfully until approximately 7 hours later. The video above shows the emphatic moment when the German-based ESA team received the all-important 'ping' that signifies Rosetta's successful awakening.
Up next for Rosetta is an anxious wait for Comet 67P, a 4km wide comet that the ESA spacecraft will chase down and orbit with a view to landing it's Philae probe in what will be the first detailed exploration of a comet's surface. If this awakening is anything to go by, the Rosetta/Philae mission is going to be one that captivates people from around the world.