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Rosetta Mission to Asteroids Rosetta Mission to Comets

Goals: The European Space Agency's Rosetta is the first mission designed to orbit and land on a comet. It consists of an orbiter and a lander -- called Philae. The two spacecraft carry 20 science instruments to make a detailed study of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko for two years as it approaches our sun.

Accomplishments: In August 2014, Rosetta became the first spacecraft to orbit a comet when it joined comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on it's journey around the sun. On 12 November 2014, Rosetta scored another historic first when its Philae probe successfully landed on the surface of the comet and began sending back images and data.


Key Dates
2 Mar 2004:  Launch (07:17 UT)
5 Sep 2008:  Asteroid Steins Flyby
10 Jul 2010:  Asteroid Lutetia Flyby
Aug 2014:  Global Mapping and Escort Mission Begins
6 Aug 2014:  Rosetta's Rendezvous with Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko
12 Nov 2014:  Philae Lands on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (16:00 UTC (8 a.m. PST and 11 a.m. EST))
Aug 2015:  Spacecraft & Comet Closest Approach to Sun
Status: In Flight
Fast Facts
Rosetta Facts Rosetta is named for the Rosetta Stone (right), an ancient script that provided the key to deconding Egyptian hieroglyphs.

Rosetta was initially going to visit another comet, but a launch delay caused it to miss its rendezvous window.

The team plans to fly past one asteroid during Rosetta's complex 10-year journey to the comet.

Rosetta gets its name from the famous Rosetta stone that led to the deciphering of Egyptian hieroglyphics almost 200 years ago.

The lander is named for Philae, an island in the river Nile on which an obelisk was found that gave historians the final clues to decipher the Rosetta stone.

Rosetta is the most detailed study of a comet planned to date.
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Last Updated: 13 Nov 2014