Rosetta Space Probe Crash-lands on Icy Comet
Cheers erupted at the European Space Agency Friday as the Rosetta spacecraft, which traveled 4-B miles over the last 10 years made a crash-landing onto the icy comet it has been orbiting for 2 years.
After catching up to Comet 67P and conducting scientific measurements of the comet bringing back important data to Earth, the probe fired its thrusters into the comet for the final time to get close-up measurements, thus ended Rosetta’s run as an orbiter.
The mission was announced over at around 7:20a EDT.
“Today, we got more out of this mission than we ever thought,” said Gerhard Schwehm, who was Rosetta’s mission manager until his retirement in 2014. “It’s a great day. With all of these happy scientists, we must have done the right thing.”
Other scientists joked that Rosetta was now a “Sleeping Beauty,” which they hope one day could be awaken in a future space mission.
Rosetta, and its companion Philae lander, have given scientists a trove of information to help shed new light on the beginnings of the solar system.
Rosetta made history when it reached Comet 67P on August 6, 2015, marking the culmination of a 10-year, 4-B mile journey.
Its Philae landed on Comet 67P on November 12, 2014.
While the event was historic, Philae had a bouncy landing, coming to rest in a position that obscured some of its solar panels. The landing spot led to Philae having intermittent contact with Rosetta, which was its line of communication back to Earth.
One of the most surprising findings challenged the theory that water was brought to Earth by comets. Rosetta’s instruments analyzed the signature of water vapor on 67P and determined the comet’s water was not a match for the structure of Earth’s H2O.
For more information got to: http://blogs.esa.int/rosetta/2015/08/19/what-made-the-comet-sing/
Have a terrific weekend.