After ten lonely years of chasing a comet through space, the European Space Agency’s Rosetta has become the first spacecraft ever to interact with a comet.
Yesterday, the final thrusts to get the craft moving at the same trajectory as the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko were successfully completed.
Rosetta is the closest it has been to the comet at any point, at 62 miles from the comet’s surface, and is currently around 252 million miles from earth.
In the next few months Roseta will be prepared to land on the surface of the comet, where it will be able to conduct tests.
The European Space Agency’s Ddirector general, Jean-Jacques Dordain, said:”After 10 years, five months and four days travelling towards our destination, looping around the sun five times and clocking up 6.4 billion kilometers, we are delighted to announce finally we are here.”
This image was taken 177 miles from the comet on Rosetta’s narrow-angle camera.
Image courtesy of: Image Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA
The smooth region on the ‘base’ of the ‘body’ section of the comet can be seen from a distance of just 80 miles here.
Image courtesy of: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team
On August 4 this image of the comet was taken on as Rosetta was making its approach – it was taken from about 234km away.
Image courtesy of: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM
This image of the coma of the comet covers an area of around 90 miles across and was also taken on the approach to the comet.
Image credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA
The view captured here shows the nucleus of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimernko from a distance of 1,210 miles and was taken in July this year.
Image courtesy of: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA