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Europe's Rosetta Spacecraft Makes Historic Arrival at Comet
www.space.com ^ | August 06, 2014 06:00am ET | By Miriam Kramer, Staff Writer

Posted on 08/06/2014 9:37:08 AM PDT by Red Badger

After a decade in space and 4 billion miles, Europe's Rosetta spacecraft has made history: For the first time ever, a robotic probe from Earth is flying with a comet and will soon enter orbit.

The European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft arrived at its target, Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, today (Aug. 6) to end a 10-year journey across the solar system. The spacecraft performed an engine burn that brought it about 62 miles (100 kilometers) from the comet's surface.

Comet 67P/C-G and Rosetta are now flying about 251 million miles (450 million kilometers) from Earth. Engineers on the ground had to program the probe to go through a series of complicated burns and maneuvers to make the spacecraft's rendezvous with the comet a possibility. [Photos: Europe's Rosetta Comet Mission in Pictures]

"This is the end of 10 years of interplanetary flight," Rosetta Flight Director Andrea Accomazzo said during ESA's live comet rendezvous webcast Wednesday.

Applause broke out in Rosetta's mission control center in Darmstadt, Germany, where a crowd of ESA dignitaries and officials had gathered to watch the historic event.

"We're at the comet! Yes!" exclaimed Sylvain Lodiot, Rosetta's spacecraft operations manager, once the probe's successful arrival at Comet 67P/C-G was confirmed.

Now, Rosetta controllers will scope out different spots on the comet, to find a good place to land the Philae lander, a small spacecraft that is expected to touch down on the surface of the comet this November. Philae will drop to the comet's surface and make measurements of the cosmic body's physical properties.

The $1.7 billion (1.3 billion euros) Rosetta comet mission launched in March 2004 to begin its history-making journey to Comet 67P/C-G. The spacecraft was originally slated to launch a year earlier and visit a different target, the Comet 46P/Wirtanen, but the mission was delayed and its destination changed following an unrelated rocket failure. [Best Comet Encounters in History]

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was discovered in 1969 by Ukrainian astronomers Klim Churyumov and Svetlana Gerasimenko. It circles the sun once every 6.5 years, and the comet's farthest point in orbit takes it beyond Jupiter. Crowd and Rosetta [Pin It] The crowd waits for Rosetta's arrival at Comet 67P on Aug. 6, 2014 Credit: ESA/S.Bierwald View full size image

The spacecraft is named after the Rosetta Stone, an ancient Egyptian tablet vital to the translation of hieroglyphics. The Philae lander is named after an obelisk discovered on an island in the Nile River. Rosetta mission scientists hope that the orbiter and lander unlock secrets of the history of comets, and the solar system, just as their namesakes helped scientists decipher Egyptian writing.

Rosetta made several loops of Earth and Mars to help the probe gain speed and move past Jupiter's orbit. After getting past the gas giant and making a close flyby of two asteroids — Steins and Lutetia — Rosetta was put into a deep slumber in 2011 for nearly three years. It awoke from hibernation mode in January 2014 to the delight of nervous ESA mission scientists.

Paolo Ferri, head of ESA's mission operations, said during a live webcast Wednesday that compared to January's awakening from hibernation, Rosetta's arrival at Comet 67P/C-G was much less tense. The reason? Spacecraft controllers have known for months that Rosetta and Philae are in good health, as opposed to January, when the probe had been sleeping for years.

Comet surprises by Rosetta Comet 67P 3D Printed [Pin It] An ESA scientist holds up a 3D model of Comet 67P during a webcast about the Rosetta probe on Aug. 6, 2014. Rosetta will learn more about the shape and composition of the comet. Credit: ESA View full size image

The Rosetta spacecraft has captured remarkable views of the comet on its way into orbit. Images of the comet revealed that Comet 67P/C-G is actually two connected pieces hurtling through space together. The smaller "head" and larger "body" of the comet are connected by a bright "neck," as seen in photos of the comet taken by Rosetta.

"The only thing we know for sure at this point is that this neck region appear brighter compared to the head and body of the nucleus," Holger Sierks, of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany, said in a statement.

Rosetta has already collected enough data about the comet for scientists to know that the surface of Comet 67P is actually too warm to be ice-covered. Instead, ESA scientists think that the comet only has splotches of ice intermixed with a dusty crust.

Rosetta is expected to stay in orbit around Comet 67P/C-G until the end of 2015.

"We're going to going to ride along with this comet. We're going to have a ringside seat," Matt Taylor, ESA Rosetta project scientist, said Wednesday as the spacecraft arrived at Comet 67P/C-G. "It's going to be an awesome ride. Stay tuned."


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Technical
KEYWORDS: astronomy; churyumovgerasimenko; comet; comet67p; cometprobe; comets; europeanspaceagency; philae; rosetta; space
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VIDEO AT LINK..................

1 posted on 08/06/2014 9:37:08 AM PDT by Red Badger
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To: SunkenCiv; KevinDavis

Space Ping!..................


2 posted on 08/06/2014 9:37:36 AM PDT by Red Badger (If you compromise with evil, you just get more evil..........................)
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To: Red Badger
Looks like a piece of slag that came from my forge.

/johnny

3 posted on 08/06/2014 9:39:36 AM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: Red Badger

The EU did good. Can’t wait to see the pictures from the lander.


4 posted on 08/06/2014 9:39:58 AM PDT by Dallas59
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To: Red Badger; sionnsar; abigailsmybaby; A CA Guy; airborne; Aloysius88; Altariel; Americanwolf; ...

“We have arrived at the giant space ducky!”


5 posted on 08/06/2014 9:41:43 AM PDT by Darksheare (I don't have a copy. one's free..... Even robots will kill for it!)
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To: Red Badger

Watch out! That shadow on the right hand side of the object in that picture is really a mouth! Don’t hide your spaceship in there.


6 posted on 08/06/2014 9:44:08 AM PDT by NonValueAdded ("Kerry, as Obama's plenipotentiary, is a paradox - the physical presence of a geopolitical absence")
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To: JRandomFreeper

It IS a piece of slag.............From God’s forge...........................


7 posted on 08/06/2014 9:44:11 AM PDT by Red Badger (If you compromise with evil, you just get more evil..........................)
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"Those who say that we're in a time when there are no heroes,
they just don't know where to look."

~Ronald Reagan




please click the pic
donate today!
Help support Free Republic

8 posted on 08/06/2014 9:45:00 AM PDT by trisham (Zen is not easy. It takes effort to attain nothingness. And then what do you have? Bupkis.)
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To: Red Badger
That explains the size difference. All of my slag is about the size of a quarter dollar.

/johnny

9 posted on 08/06/2014 9:46:11 AM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: NonValueAdded

10 posted on 08/06/2014 9:47:28 AM PDT by Red Badger (If you compromise with evil, you just get more evil..........................)
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To: JRandomFreeper

He has a bigger forge...............


11 posted on 08/06/2014 9:47:58 AM PDT by Red Badger (If you compromise with evil, you just get more evil..........................)
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To: Dallas59
I predict a photo of Gray Rock. Then the nuts will come out
and start seeing faces, dolphins, and pyramids on the surface
claiming there are aliens living inside and the Gov is hiding the truth.
12 posted on 08/06/2014 9:48:00 AM PDT by MaxMax (Pay Attention and you'll be pissed off too! FIRE BOEHNER, NOW!)
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To: JRandomFreeper

Is it considered life if it is dead? That is clearly a Chicken McNugget.


13 posted on 08/06/2014 9:49:48 AM PDT by cuban leaf (The US will not survive the obama presidency. The world may not either.)
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To: MaxMax
Don't ruin it, Max.
I'm only halfway through creating the first battery of conspiracy theories for this.:)
14 posted on 08/06/2014 9:52:16 AM PDT by moose07 (the truth will out ,one day. Doggies Rock.)
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To: moose07

Your conspiracy theory about that Annunaki space ship is safe with me.


15 posted on 08/06/2014 9:54:52 AM PDT by MaxMax (Pay Attention and you'll be pissed off too! FIRE BOEHNER, NOW!)
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To: Red Badger

I doubt it has any gravity, how does one “enter orbit”?


16 posted on 08/06/2014 9:55:44 AM PDT by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans)
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To: Red Badger

17 posted on 08/06/2014 9:56:49 AM PDT by Dallas59
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To: GeronL

Everything that has mass has gravity. Even this small chunk of mass.....................


18 posted on 08/06/2014 9:58:59 AM PDT by Red Badger (If you compromise with evil, you just get more evil..........................)
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To: MaxMax

Phew,Knew i could rely on you. :D


19 posted on 08/06/2014 9:59:34 AM PDT by moose07 (the truth will out ,one day. Doggies Rock.)
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To: Dallas59

Yes, let’s give the girly men and women some credit, but this isn’t the first mission to a comet. We even had one mission that returned comet material to earth.

http://news.discovery.com/space/history-of-space/7-intimate-close-encounters-with-comets-photos-140805.htm


20 posted on 08/06/2014 10:00:35 AM PDT by Moonman62 (The US has become a government with a country, rather than a country with a government.)
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To: Red Badger

The gravity must be very low, a lander might even bounce off.


21 posted on 08/06/2014 10:01:14 AM PDT by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans)
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To: MaxMax

22 posted on 08/06/2014 10:03:11 AM PDT by Dallas59
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To: Darksheare

I wish I had not lost my gif of the evil Mr Ducky.


23 posted on 08/06/2014 10:04:56 AM PDT by Harmless Teddy Bear (Proud Infidel, Gun Nut, Religious Fanatic and Freedom Fiend)
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To: Dallas59

That is awesome, racist (/sarc), but still awesome.


24 posted on 08/06/2014 10:07:43 AM PDT by Resolute Conservative
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To: Harmless Teddy Bear

Drats.
I don’t think I have my copy of it anymore either.
:(


25 posted on 08/06/2014 10:12:20 AM PDT by Darksheare (I don't have a copy. one's free..... Even robots will kill for it!)
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To: GeronL

Must use very soft brakes..................


26 posted on 08/06/2014 10:15:11 AM PDT by Red Badger (If you compromise with evil, you just get more evil..........................)
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To: Red Badger

whisper brakes


27 posted on 08/06/2014 10:22:52 AM PDT by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans)
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To: Red Badger

At 251 million miles away, it will take approximately 22.5 seconds for a radio signal to reach Earth from the probe. And another 22.5 seconds to respond. So how can engineers on Earth control the real-time landing of a craft at that distance, considering the time lag?


28 posted on 08/06/2014 10:38:29 AM PDT by IronJack
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To: IronJack

Math....................


29 posted on 08/06/2014 10:44:52 AM PDT by Red Badger (If you compromise with evil, you just get more evil..........................)
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To: Harmless Teddy Bear; Darksheare

https://i.chzbgr.com/maxW500/4412777216/hE7F7BA73/


30 posted on 08/06/2014 10:45:46 AM PDT by Red Badger (If you compromise with evil, you just get more evil..........................)
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To: Dallas59

I see a Woody Woodpecker outline...................

31 posted on 08/06/2014 10:47:24 AM PDT by Red Badger (If you compromise with evil, you just get more evil..........................)
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To: moose07

Upon completion of your first series, make sure you leak a copy to BPEarfbotch...


32 posted on 08/06/2014 10:59:46 AM PDT by NoCmpromiz (John 14:6 is a non-pluralistic comment.)
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To: GeronL
..bounce off..

Better that than Guam tipping over...

33 posted on 08/06/2014 11:01:52 AM PDT by NoCmpromiz (John 14:6 is a non-pluralistic comment.)
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To: moose07; MaxMax

Post 5, way ahead of it.
It is obviously an escaped rubber ducky in orbit.
Heavily weathered, one can only assume what hideous ancient aliens left it out there, watching..
/ end bad joke and Giorgio Tsoukalos reference


34 posted on 08/06/2014 11:05:07 AM PDT by Darksheare (I don't have a copy. one's free..... Even robots will kill for it!)
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To: Red Badger; Harmless Teddy Bear

Evil rubber ducky had a gun if memory serves.


35 posted on 08/06/2014 11:05:40 AM PDT by Darksheare (I don't have a copy. one's free..... Even robots will kill for it!)
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To: Red Badger

They should have called first. It looks like no one is home.


36 posted on 08/06/2014 11:14:15 AM PDT by TigersEye ("No man left behind" means something different to 0bama.)
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To: TigersEye

They might be inside.....................


37 posted on 08/06/2014 11:19:43 AM PDT by Red Badger (If you compromise with evil, you just get more evil..........................)
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To: Darksheare

38 posted on 08/06/2014 11:23:52 AM PDT by Red Badger (If you compromise with evil, you just get more evil..........................)
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To: Red Badger; Harmless Teddy Bear

That’ll work!


39 posted on 08/06/2014 11:25:43 AM PDT by Darksheare (I don't have a copy. one's free..... Even robots will kill for it!)
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To: Red Badger
They might be inside.....................

They must have received a radio transmission of a Ronald Reagan speech.

"We're from the government and we're here to help."

Does NASA do no-knock warrants?

40 posted on 08/06/2014 11:29:49 AM PDT by TigersEye ("No man left behind" means something different to 0bama.)
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To: Red Badger

4 billion miles...

I hope it brings back nice souvenirs.


41 posted on 08/06/2014 11:36:58 AM PDT by Dead Corpse (Tri nornar eg bir. Binde til rota...)
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To: JRandomFreeper

My thought too...

“Goody. All that cash to photograph a chunk of clinker...”


42 posted on 08/06/2014 11:40:38 AM PDT by Dead Corpse (Tri nornar eg bir. Binde til rota...)
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To: Dallas59

At least the spacecraft wasn’t named “Capricorn I.”


43 posted on 08/06/2014 11:43:55 AM PDT by Night Hides Not (Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad! Remember Mississippi!)
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To: Darksheare
We have the technology to capture it.


44 posted on 08/06/2014 11:45:42 AM PDT by Slings and Arrows ("Your Daddy Was Drunk and Your Mama Was Lonely" - http://youtu.be/4HYy62qiOwA)
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To: GeronL
I doubt it has any gravity, how does one “enter orbit”?

It has mass. . . it has gravity. Very, very little, itty-bitty gravity, but it has gravity. About the level of gravity that Obama now has with our allies.

45 posted on 08/06/2014 11:47:17 AM PDT by Swordmaker (This tag line is a Microsoft insult free zone... but if the insults to Mac users continue...)
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To: Swordmaker

That is pretty small


46 posted on 08/06/2014 11:51:37 AM PDT by GeronL (Vote for Conservatives not for Republicans)
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To: Slings and Arrows

Ceiling cat will help us!


47 posted on 08/06/2014 11:55:19 AM PDT by Darksheare (I don't have a copy. one's free..... Even robots will kill for it!)
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To: Dead Corpse

At least it was euros and not real money.

/johnny


48 posted on 08/06/2014 11:59:50 AM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: Dead Corpse

49 posted on 08/06/2014 12:18:49 PM PDT by Red Badger (If you compromise with evil, you just get more evil..........................)
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To: NoCmpromiz

Consider it done, LOL.


50 posted on 08/06/2014 12:25:07 PM PDT by moose07 (the truth will out ,one day. Doggies Rock.)
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