Thursday, August 7, 2014

Where No One Has Gone Before

This is undeniably cool.

Comet Approach 08-07-14

Europe’s Rosetta probe has arrived at a comet after a 10-year chase.

In a first for space history, the spacecraft was manoeuvred alongside a speeding body to begin mapping its surface in detail.

The spacecraft fired its thrusters for six and a half minutes to finally catch up with comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

“We’re at the comet!” said Sylvain Lodiot of the European Space Agency (Esa) operations centre in Germany.

“After 10 years, five months and four days travelling towards our destination, looping around the Sun five times and clocking up 6.4 billion km, we are delighted to announce finally ‘we are here’,” said Jean-Jacques Dordain, director general of Esa.

Launched on board an Ariane rocket in March 2004, Rosetta has taken a long route around our Solar System to catch up with comet 67P.

In a series of fly-pasts, the probe used the gravity of the Earth and Mars to increase its speed during the 6 billion km chase.

5 barks and woofs on “Where No One Has Gone Before

  1. There’s a nifty near-scale illustration showing the comet, Space Dock, DS9, a Borg cube and the Galaxy class (a la Enterprise-D).

    I’m waiting for the “it’s the size of Texas, Mr. President” asteroid to be shown in contrast…

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