Piggybacking On The Comet – The Rosetta Misson

Rosetta mission

Image credit: Flickr User ESA, via CC

This event is the first of firsts. Nothing like this has ever happened ever. A spacecraft named Rosetta has landed on a comet for the first time. The comet is Comet C-G named after the scientists Churyumov-Gerasimenko who found it.

History got made today. Do you know how blazing fast the comet is moving? Its speed is 135,000km/h!

Why is the Spacecraft named Rosetta?

A famous stone named Rosetta was discovered in Egypt almost 200 years ago. That helped scientists learn more about Ancient Egypt and hence the name Rosetta for this Spacecraft. The scientists are hoping to get more clues about origins of Earth and life on it.

When was the Rosetta sent?

This unmanned (No human on board) spacecraft was sent TEN years ago so that it could land on the comet today. Since its launch in March 2004, Rosetta and its lander Philae have travelled more than 6billion kilometres to catch up with the comet, which orbits the sun. Wow! Most of you were not even born then. It was not an easy task. But it was achieved by the European Space agency who is in charge of this mission. Bravo! The spacecraft would now piggyback the comet and watch its every move as the later orbits around the sun.

When did the Rosetta reach?

Rosetta reached the orbit of the comet in August this year, since then its lander Philae ( its size is about the size of a clothes dryer) had been figuring out how to land on a comet. The landing happened today.

Were there any problems encountered during the mission?

All was not well during the landing of the Rosetta. Philae made a soft landing as the two harpoons did not fire. They were supposed to keep the Spacecraft attached to the comet as it moved. But now there is a risk of Rosetta sliding off the comet.

Let us learn more about landing –

NASA has attempted to do this earlier but did not get success.

Let us sit back and enjoy the discoveries that Rosetta makes.

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