Rosetta the Comet Chaser Arrives
Today's been a pretty epic day. After a decade, ESA's Rosetta, the comet chaser, has caught up with Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
This has taken place somewhere between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter; 405 million KM from earth (equivalent to 110,106 circumferences of the earth). It takes 22 minutes to send and receive signals from Rosetta because of the distance. How you orchestrate a rendezvous with that constraint, at that distance, I have no idea.
For the last few months, I've been enjoying the blurry images of 67P in anticipation of the images seen today.
Towards the end of the working day, these incredible images were released.
Some stats from BBC and ESA:
- Been in space for nearly 10.5 years.
- Woken from deep space hibernation after 31 months in hibernation.
- Looped around the sun five times.
- Travelled a total of 6.4 billion KM.
Summed up nicely…
And don't forget the challenge of getting a fridge sized lander to its surface. So exciting. Look at the missions launching in the near future.
Rosetta is currently scanning for a landing zone.
Images courtesy of ESA.