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Rosetta Spacecraft Reaches Comet After 10-Year Chase

Wed, 06 Aug 2014 15:53:23 +0000

ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA(NEW YORK) -- The unmanned Rosetta spacecraft made history when it became the first probe to rendezvous with a comet as it journeyed around the sun.

After a 10-year chase spanning more than 4 billion miles across the solar system, the European Space Agency's spacecraft got up close and personal with the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko halfway between the orbits of Jupiter and Mars.

“After ten years, five months and four days travelling towards our destination, looping around the Sun five times and clocking up 6.4 billion kilometres, we are delighted to announce finally ‘we are here,'” Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA’s Director General said Wednesday in a statement.

It's a crucial step toward researchers' goal of placing the robotic Philae lander on the surface of the comet later this year, something that has never been accomplished.

The goal of the mission is to explore the origins of comets, stars and planets.

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