Shop Windows to the Universe

Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather by Mike Smith tells the story of our storm warning system. See our online store book collection.
The Rosetta spacecraft on its fueling stand.
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of the European Space Agency

Rosetta Mission Page

The Rosetta Mission, the first mission to have a lander which will touch down on a comet, was suppose to launch in January 2003. Unfortunately, launch had to be delayed. The good news is that Rosetta has a new launch date, February 26, 2004.

Rosetta will not rendezvous with comet Wirtanen as was originally planned, but comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. (abbreviated as comet C-G)

After launch, the spacecraft will then begin on a ten year journey to rendezvous with comet C-G. Part of the ten years will include Rosetta getting on the correct orbital path, which includes gravity assists from Earth and Mars. Rosetta will study this comet in detail, in hopes that this will lead to new scientific findings about all comets and thus about the formation of our solar system.

The Rosetta spacecraft is actually made of two parts: an orbiter, which will approach the comet and then circle it, and a lander. Rosetta has many complex scientific instruments that will aid in researching this comet's nucleus, coma and tail.

The Rosetta spacecraft is named after the Rosetta stone, a famous stone that allowed hieroglyphics to finally be deciphered.

Scientists are excited about new discoveries Rosetta might help make. This is the first comet mission where part of a spacecraft will actually touch down on a comet. Watch for news to come regarding the Rosetta Mission!

Many scientists from different nations have contributed to the Rosetta mission. Mission operations are being overseen by the European Space Agency.

Last modified July 15, 2010 by Randy Russell.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

Our online store includes books on science education, classroom activities in The Earth Scientist, mineral and fossil specimens, and educational games!

Windows to the Universe Community

News

Opportunities

You might also be interested in:

Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was discovered in 1969 by Klim Churyumov and Svetlana Gerasimenko. The comet orbits the Sun once every 6.57 years. Its orbit brings it closer to the Sun than Mars at the...more

Solar System Formation

Scientists believe that the solar system was for med when a cloud of gas and dust in space was disturbed, maybe by the supernova of a nearby star. Shock waves from the explosion compressed the cloud of...more

Rosetta instruments

The Rosetta spacecraft has many instruments that it will use to measure various aspects of Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko during its visit. This diagram shows the two cameras that make up the OSIRIS imaging...more

The Comet Coma

As the ices of the comet nucleus evaporate, they expand rapidly into a large cloud around the central part of the comet. This cloud, called the coma, is the atmosphere of the comet and can extend for millions...more

Rosetta Stone

For thousands of years, the Egyptian civilization used a written language called hieroglyphics. This language was used from ancient times throughout the last several centuries B.C., when the Greeks under...more

Rosetta lander instruments

The Rosetta lander has many instruments that it will use to make measurements when it lands on Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The instruments carried by the lander are described in detail in the table below....more

Rosetta Mission Update

The Rosetta Mission, the first mission to have a lander which will touch down on a comet, was suppose to launch in January 2003. Unfortunately, launch has been delayed and no new launch date has been set....more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA