Today the Rosetta satellite reached comet 67P. It’s the first time in history a space probe made such a close approach to a comet. In the coming weeks the current distance to the comet of ~100 km will be lowered to ~30 km bringing the probe in orbit. Once this orbit is established a robotic lander “Philae” will be dropped along a ballistic orbit onto the comet itself.
Below you find one of the latest images taken by the Rosetta satellite. Considering that the satellite has travelled 6 billion kilometres, taking 10 years to do so, I consider this a major scientific and technological feat.
Comet 67P close-up - OSIRIS, Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA[/caption]
I commend ESA for supporting such long term / high risk missions. I hope such wonderful pictures, after this amazing journey, can inspire future engineers and scientists all over the world.
Space programs and science funding in general has seen some serious budget cuts but results such as these should inspire policy makers that good science sometimes takes considerable time and money. My congratulations go out to Rosetta team!
For last minute updates on the project, more images and videos I refer to the Rosetta ESA website.