Rosetta’s 12-year-long journey to end this Friday

Rosetta’s 12-year-long journey to end this Friday

On Friday, Rosetta orbiter’s journey would come to an end, as it would also join robot lab Philae on the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The 12-year-long journey will end with last time science gathering effort.

It is sad that the mission would have a looming end, but European Space Agency (ESA) scientists are working on the final phase of gathering information and photographing the comet from the distance of just a few meters away with the help of Rosetta.

Once the orbiter sends back the final data to earth, Rosetta’s signal will be cut off from ground control screens at around 1120 GMT. Actual time the end of the mission is considered be around 1040 GMT. ESA senior science advisor Mark McCaughrean said that the orbiter will be gone in just one go.

In 1993, Rosetta mission received green signal to orbit and land on a comet with an aim to explore the details of the planetary system. In March 2004, Rosetta and comet lander Philae were launched and travelled over six billion kilometres to reach the comet in August 2014.

Philae was placed on the comet’s surface in November 2014 and helped in unveiling different aspects of comets. At the current moment, the comet is moving away from the sun, which meant that the orbiter’s solar panels are getting lesser and battery-replenishing rays.

It was tough decision to take for Rosetta mission scientists, who opted for controlled impact, with which the orbiter would join Philae on the comet’s surface. Final maneuvers will take place on the night of September 29 when the comet would be over 700 million km from earth and traveling at the speed of more than 14 km/second.


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