Thursday, August 7, 2014

Rosetta Rendezvous

An amazing feat of aerospace engineering and celestial navigation has just culminated as the European Space Agency's Rosetta unmanned spacecraft arrived at the comet kinown as  Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Not only did Rosetta rendezvous with this comet, it put itself into orbit around  the 2.4 mile wide  comet.


Rosetta was launched on its mission in 2004.  Over its ten year journey, Rosetta travelled 4 billion miles, before 'catching up' and putting itself into orbit around the comet.    Rosetta will soon release a 200 pound lander that will descend to the comet's ice and stone surface.

In a news cycle dominated by reports on the fighting in Iraq, Gaza, and Eastern Ukraine, the brilliant success of Rosetta seems to have been lost in the shuffle. The media coverage of Rosetta's successful rendezvous has been modest thus far. I hope that changes. By any measure, sending a spacecraft hundreds of millions miles to connect with a speeding object just a few miles wide is a historical achievement for all humankind. 

Here is a link to the European Space Agency website for the Rosetta Mission...

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