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Part of the Rosetta spacecraft will land on a comet! Here is what an artist thinks it might look like.
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Courtesy of ESA

Rosetta Lander

Part of the Rosetta spacecraft will land on the comet. The comet is much smaller than a planet, so gravity is very weak. The engineers who built the lander had to make sure it doesn't bounce when it lands. When the lander touches down, it will shoot harpoons into the icy surface of the comet. Cables from the harpoons will help hold the lander down!

Rosetta will land on the nucleus of Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. When Rosetta was built, it was supposed to land on a different comet. There were problems with the rocket that will take Rosetta into space. Rosetta had to wait while engineers fixed its rocket. The new comet is bigger than the old one. It has stronger gravity, so Rosetta will be going faster when it lands. The engineers had to make the lander's legs better so it would be ready to land on the bigger comet. Rosetta is ready to go now!

The lander has instruments that will measure the types of chemicals found on the surface of the comet. It also has small drills that will dig into the comet, so we can find out what is "underground". The lander also has cameras that will show us what it looks like to stand on a comet!

Last modified January 8, 2004 by Randy Russell.

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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