Rosetta is a spacecraft that was launched in 2004 by the European Space Agency with aid from NASA. Rosetta’s mission is to rendezvous with Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, orbit the comet, and launch and land a robot lander called Philae onto the comet. If the launch and landing for robot lander Philae are successful, Philae will be the first ever controlled landing on a comet.
Rosetta has been in hibernation since November and has recently been awoken successfully (turned back on) and is now expected to rendezvous with its nearby target — Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko — in May, and then enter orbit around the icy body (Comet) in August. Check Out the video below to see the journey that Rosetta has experienced through our Solar System so far.
If all goes well, Rosetta will release a piggyback probe — Philae — in November. Philae will study comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko up close with its 10 science instruments, one of which is a drill that will snag samples up to 8 inches beneath the comet’s surface.
Below is a video animation of the expected upcoming Philae landing.
The studies will be the first of their kind considering we have never landed on a comet before. This mission has high expectations and will hopefully bring in priceless information about comets, the origin of our solar system, and possibly more of the origin of life.
Rosetta is named for the Rosetta Stone, a block of black basalt that was inscribed with a royal decree in three languages — Egyptian hieroglyphics, Egyptian Demotic and Greek. The spacecraft’s robotic lander is called Philae, named after a similarly inscribed obelisk found on an island in the Nile River. Both the stone and the obelisk were key to deciphering ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. Scientists hope the mission will provide a key to many questions about the origins of the solar system and, perhaps, life on Earth.” -According to Space.com
Check Out the full story here on Space.com