Rosetta Comet Probe to 'Wake Up' on MondayPart of a deep-space European probe, the NASA-assisted Rosetta system will be the first to monitor a comet long-term
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!
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