Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Rosetta Space Craft orbiting around a comet over 250 million miles away!

After a ten-year mission the Rosetta spacecraft has landed a probe on a comet.  This is a great way for our scientists to learn about what actually makes up a comet. Congratulations!  This animation shows the Rosetta spacecraft orbiting the comet.  Remember this comet is over 250 million miles away from Earth!
Below is from the European Space Agency, ESA

Rosetta orbiting Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko and scanning its surface to make scientific measurements. The colours of the beams and their shape on the surface represent two different instruments imaging and analysing the comet.

The Rosetta orbiter has a total of 11 instruments to study the characteristics and environment of the comet. Rosetta is taking images of the comet at a variety of different wavelengths, measuring its gravity, mass, density, internal structure, shape and rotation, and assessing the properties of its gaseous, dust-laden atmosphere, or coma. It is also probing the surrounding plasma environment and analysing how it interacts with the solar wind.

Rosetta also carries a small lander, Philae, which will descend to the surface of the comet and make in situ measurements using its suite of 10 instruments.

The animation is not to scale; the comet is about 4.1 km wide and Rosetta is 32 m across including its solar wings, and it conducts scientific investigations at a range of altitudes. The comet shape is based on a true comet shape model.

Credits: ESA

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