Science

Rosetta probe will wake up to encounter a comet

The Rosetta probe from 957 days ago is in hibernation. It shall wake up on Monday, January 20th to go to meet the comet 67P/Couriumov-Guerasimenko and thus try to learn more about how the solar system was formed. The spacecraft of the European Space Agency (ESA), broke during March 2, 2004 and in this long history has had three approaches to Earth and Mars. It has also flown and taken pictures of two asteroids. Steins on the 5th of September 2008 and Lutetia on the 10th of July 2010. Hibernation is scheduled in June 2011 and then travel up to about 800 million miles from the sun near the orbit of Jupiter which will be released in three days.

When Monday comes, it will come out of that state and will start a path to the final encounter with this heavenly body, in November this year. There it will rest on the Philae surface module of 100 pounds. During this stage, the probe will bring high-resolution images and analyze the composition and structure of both the surface and the deeper layers of the comet, thanks to the 21 instruments that it accounts. Mark McCaughrean, one of the leaders of space exploration in the ESA says that comets are witness capsules of the birth of the solar system. “Opening these capsules viewing the gases, dust and all the ice that is inside will help us obtain formidable clues about the origin of our solar system and perhaps also life, because comets contain organic molecules” he told AFP.

Rosetta Probe

Rosetta Probe

The comet was selected because it has lived billions of years in deep space until a passage near Jupiter radically altered its orbit in 1959. This comet has hardly been eroded by the sun’s rays and testimony about the universe promises to be particularly understandable.

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