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.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
on science education, classroom activities in The Earth Scientist
specimens, and educational games
You might also be interested in:
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
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
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
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
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
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
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