Comet Chaser Rosetta finally reaches 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko
The European Spacecraft Rosetta will reach comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko after 10 year chase. The Rosetta spacecraft will finally reach the comet at distance of 402 million kilometers. Rosetta probe will orbit around 3.2 km wide 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
The mission control team in Germany will conduct a series of manoeuvres to set Rosetta within 100 KM from the comet. 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko has orbital period of 6.45 years and rotation period of 12.7 hours. The comet will reach its closest distance to the Sun on 13 August, 2015.
Rosetta mission also aims to study the comet and its surface. The mission team will deploy Philae, a robotic lander, on the comet in November. The robotic lander will send detailed images and data regarding the surface of comet.
Rosetta will orbit for more than a year and gather data regarding the comet. The space mission has 11 sophisticated instruments for analyzing the composition and structure of 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.
The communication between Rosetta and Earth takes 22 minutes due to long distance. The mission team also finds it difficult to calculate the gravitational pull of the comet due to its irregular shape. The team will analyze the data and decide about the landing site for Philae by the end of August.
Project scientist Dr Matt Taylor said, "We have to make baby steps as we approach it, because we don't know exactly how the comet is behaving and how the spacecraft will behave around it.”
It will be interesting to watch Rosetta over the next few months as the comet will come near the Sun and the amount of gas and dust will increase.
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