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Waspie_Dwarf

Rosetta: Chasing a comet

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Chasing a comet

Rosetta’s journey from launch in March 2004 to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in August 2014, including 3 flybys of Earth and 1 of Mars. By January 2014 Rosetta is about 9 million kilometres from comet 67P/CG. By early May, Rosetta will be 2 million kilometres from the comet and at the end of May the spacecraft will execute a major rendezvous manoeuvre to line it up for orbit insertion at the start of August.

The comet and planets are not to scale.

Credit: ESA – C. Carreau

Source: ESA - Space in Videos

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Rosetta's orbit around the comet

After a ten year journey through space, ESA's Rosetta spacecraft will reach comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in August 2014. After catching up with the comet Rosetta will slightly overtake and enter orbit from the "front" of the comet as both the spacecraft and 67P/CG move along their orbits around the Sun. Rosetta will carry out a complex series of manoeuvres to reduce the separation between the spacecraft and comet from around 100 km to 25-30 km. From this close orbit, detailed mapping will allow scientists to determine the landing site for the mission's Philae lander. Immediately prior to the deployment of Philae in November, Rosetta will come to within just 2.5 km of the comet's nucleus.

This animation is not to scale; Rosetta's solar arrays span 32 m, and the comet is approximately 4 km wide.

Credit: ESA - C. Carreau

Source: ESA - Space in Videos

Edited by Waspie_Dwarf
typos
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Rosetta orbiting the comet

Animation showing Rosetta orbiting comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and scanning its surface to make scientific measurements. The colours of the beams and their shape on the surface represent two different instruments imaging and analysing the comet.

The Rosetta orbiter has a total of 11 instruments to study the characteristics and environment of the comet. Rosetta will take images of the comet at a variety of different wavelengths, will make measurements of its gravity, mass, density, internal structure, shape, and rotation, and will assess the properties its gaseous, dust-laden atmosphere, or coma. It will also probe the surrounding plasma environment and analyse how it interacts with the solar wind.

Rosetta also carries a small lander, Philae, which will descend to the surface of the comet and make in situ measurements using its suite of 10 instruments.

The animation is not to scale; comet 67P/CG is approximately 4 km wide and Rosetta is 32 m across including its solar arrays. It will conduct its scientific investigations at a range of altitudes.

Credit: ESA

Source: ESA - Space in Videos

Edited by Waspie_Dwarf
corrected source link.

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