Track Rosetta Comet Hunting Path With This Interactive Mission Map
Earlier this year, the European Space Agency pulled of a remarkable feat when they successfully woke up their Rosetta spacecraft after 31 months of deep space slumber. The reason for their ambitious wake-up call was to tell Rosetta that its time had come to track down the Comet 67p Churyumov-Gerasimenko and attempt to place the robotic Philae lander onto its surface. To succeed in this most ambitious of missions, Rosetta must align itself with Comet 67p's path, match its speed and enter into an increasingly narrow orbit around the high speed space rock.
This process is exactly as complex as it sounds, and to help you visualize it, the space mapping marvels at Solarsystemscope.com have created an interactive mission map for this landmark attempt to touch down onto a comet. The interactive visualization takes you from Rosetta's launch in 2004, right up to its critical moments in November this year, which will see the spacecraft approach Comet 67p and release the Philae Lander.
This all serves to drill home what an incredible feat of space exploration the ESA's Rosetta mission is. To be able to map out this comet's path, launch a spacecraft to intercept it after almost 3 years of hibernation and then land another spacecraft on said comet; well it all just boggles the mind.