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Rosetta Comet Probe to 'Wake Up' on Monday

Part of a deep-space European probe, the NASA-assisted Rosetta system will be the first to monitor a comet long-term
Related: Space
Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014

The above image is an artist's rendering of the Rosetta Spacecraft. (NASA/ESA)

Tomorrow, January 20, 2014, a space probe will become operational after a long period of hibernation as is traveled through space to the proper position for its mission. This groundbreaking European Space Agency's cometary probe was created with NASA contributions, and its goal is to track a comet.

So far, these fast-moving "icy dirt balls" (as some astronomers dub comets) have only been observed and studied as they whip past telescopes or space probes that momentarily have them in their sites.

The Rosetta craft will perform an entirely new kind of observation. It will closely track a space-bound comet, 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, for months, delivering fresh insight into this space nomad. Loaded with 25 instruments, 3 from NASA, Rosetta will observe the comet as it whips into, and out of, the inner solar system.

Prepare for an exciting ride!

PHOTOS ON SKYE: 10 Breathtaking Photos of Comets


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It seems that we have an unjustified interest in dirty snow balls when we spend hundreds of millions to look at comets. I'm glad it was European money; they have lots of it and a free U.S. army to protect them (since WWII).

January 20 2014 at 11:36 AM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to hamcallk5co's comment

You do make a point regarding our country's defense of Europe, still, the billions spent was justified based on our own defense needs. It's always better to have the battlefield on the other side of the Atlantic, if it comes to that. It is absolutely true, however, that Europe was able to build and renew infrastructure, while ours was, and is, falling apart. As for space exploration, I think it is necessary, but regarding the study of comets, you may have a point as to whether or not it's worth the cost. I also think it's nice that Europe is footing the bill on this one, with NASA simply playing a supporting role. One can only hope that Europe, and the USA, continues along this same path.

January 21 2014 at 3:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

NASA's Rosette-Stone system shows the importance being placed on comet/asteroid activity. The recent barrage of reported and unreported sightings of objects colliding into earth is a growing concern for our survival. This technology may or may not be coming just in time .

January 20 2014 at 11:34 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

The wonder of it all... Indeed, we can achieve great and useful things if only we'd stop killing one another.

January 20 2014 at 9:16 AM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply
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