At Deskarati, as you will probably have already realised, we are excited by space exploration and 2014 is going to be a good’n. Primarily because ten years since its launch Europe’s Rosetta mission to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is about to rendezvous with the 4km-wide hunk of ice.
Rosetta will be woken from hibernation on 20 January and after a period of instrument check-out and some rendezvous manoeuvres, the spacecraft should find itself in the vicinity of 67P in August. Mapping and remote-sensing will then be followed by an audacious attempt to put a lander, called Philae, on the comet’s surface in November.
This will occur some 450 million km from the Sun. Assuming Philae gets down successfully, it will try to ride 67P on its sweep into the inner Solar System. If Philae can withstand the outgassing as the ices heat up on approach to our star is as yet unknown. With the aid of ice screws and harpoons the little lander will try to hang on for as long as possible . This is one comet rodeo we don’t want to miss. So keep coming back and Deskarati will keep you updated with all the latest news.