The Science group for the month of October looked at the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission.
Rosetta was launched 10 years ago and its journey included 4 slingshot manoeuvres, 3 round the Earth and one round Mars.
After a period of two and a half years in hibernation it finally arrived at comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko this August. It will orbit the comet, which itself rotates every 12.5 hours, until next December, monitoring it as it travels around the sun.
Rosetta is also carrying a small landing craft called Philae, which will be released from the parent craft on 12th November and will attach itself to the comet using harpoons and ice screws. It will then drill and analyse samples of the comet material.
Rosetta has already taken photographs of the 4.5 Km long comet from a distance of only 10 Km, and has identified craters, boulders and jets of gas and dust being emitted from the “neck” region.
If you are interested, go to the European Space Agency website for more detailed information, pictures and regular updates on the progress of the mission.