Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Tonight's Sky for August 6: Rosetta Flys By Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

After 10 years in space, t
he big day is finally here for the European Space Agency's (ESA) Rosetta space probe, which is set to enter orbit around Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko, onto which it will then land a smaller probe, named Rosetta.

If successful, this would be a first off its kind mission because, to date, no probe has ever been landed on a comet before. In contrast, probes have been flown by and deliberately been crashed into comets, most famously NASA's Deep Impact. A soft landing? That's new territory. According to the plan, Rosetta will land on the comet, analyze it with 10 instruments, and even drill into the comet's surface to better determine its composition.  

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