The Rosetta spacecraft has caught a first glimpse of its destination comet since waking up from deep-space hibernation on Jan. 20.
A comet-bound spacecraft that spent more than two years in a deep sleep mode woke up on Jan. 20 to begin the home stretch of its decade-long journey to a mile-wide ball of rock, dust and ice. Rosetta—a European Space Agency-led mission that involves University of Michigan engineers and scientists—is on track to be the first craft to actually land on a comet as well as track it for an extended period of time.
At 10:00 GMT on Monday, the most important alarm clock in the Solar System will wake up ESA’s sleeping Rosetta spacecraft.
ESA’s comet-chasing mission Rosetta will wake up in 100 days’ time from deep-space hibernation to reach the destination it has been cruising towards for a decade. Comets are the primitive building blocks of the Solar System and the likely source of much of Earth’s water, perhaps even delivering to Earth the ingredients that helped life evolve.
New observations of the Lutetia asteroid have revealed that it's a planet that never properly formed.
The Rosetta spacecraft has captured the first, high-quality pictures of the "Lutetia" asteroid.