What is Rosetta you say? It’s this awesome spacecraft you’re going to be hearing a lot about later this year. For my money it’s the coolest space mission of the year.
In November the European Space Agency will attempt to land Rosetta on the surface of a comet. That’s never been done before.
Launched in 2004, the Rosetta spacecraft has been bouncing around the solar system since then to reach a speed at which it can match that of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
Anyway, this comet with an unfortunate and very hard to pronounce name is estimated to be a couple of miles across and its now zipping away from the Sun.
Since 2011 the Rosetta spacecraft has been in ‘sleep mode’ to conserve power, but it awakened in January and now European engineers are maneuvering Rosetta closer to the comet, allowing it to observe the lump of ice and rock.
Then, for the grand finale late this year, the space agency will attempt to drop a 150-pound lander on the comet to image and measure its surface.
What exactly it will see there is unknown, and I can’t wait to find out.