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Rosetta became first ever spacecraft to orbit a Comet named 67P

Aug 8, 2014 12:14 IST

Rosetta of European Space Agency on 6 August 2014 became first ever spacecraft to reach a Comet named 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko that was discovered in 1969. It reached the comet after a journey of 10 years, five months and four days through deep space.

During this period, Rosetta crossed a distance of 6.4 billion km (more than five times the distance between the Earth and the Sun) using the gravity of both Mars and Earth to gather enough speed to sling-shot into the comet’s path.

Rosetta is currently just 100 km from the comet's surface. In November 2014, Rosetta will try to land on the Comet 67P lowering a lander by name Philae weighing 100 kg and will attempt to study the nature of its surface and the composition of various gases ejected from it.

About Rosetta Mission

The mission began in March 2004. It was launched from Kourou in French Guiana aboard an Ariane 5 rocket. The spacecraft is an aluminium box weighing about 3000 kg and carries Philae, which is about 100 kg. The mission will end in December 2015.

The Project Scientist of Rosetta project Matt Taylor.

Objective of the mission

The Rosetta mission will look for the presence of such organic compounds of interest. Increasingly, scientists have come to believe that comets had a role to play in the beginning of life on Earth. Comets colliding with early Earth could have brought in stocks of such organic material, thereby kick-starting life on Earth.

About Comet 67P

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko affectionately called the rubber duck was discovered in 1969. It is 3-km to 5-km in diameter. One of the primary reasons that 67P was chosen as a target was due to its orbital period. Comet 67P will hit its perihelion — its closest point to the Sun — in August 2015, and Rosetta will have the best seat in the universe.

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Read more Current Affairs on: Rosetta Spacecraft , European Space Agency Comet 67p

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