You must have heard about landing on moon or the Mars. But this time it’s a comet. In a unique celestial event, the Europe’s Rosetta spacecraft travelled within 100km (62 miles) range of a comet, having a close rendezvous with this hurtling lump of dust and ice.
Using the gravitational thrust of the planets Earth and Mars, Rosetta travelled towards the comet, named 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, within 100 kilometres of its range and is now considered to be on its final landing.
Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA’s director general, said, “After 10 years, five months and four days travelling towards our destination, looping around the Sun five times and clocking up 6.4bn kilometres, we are delighted to announce finally, we are here.”
With the development, the European Space Agency’s (ESA) billion-euro spacecraft has become the first in the history to catch up with a comet so closely.
“Europe’s Rosetta is now the first spacecraft in history to rendezvous with a comet, a major highlight in exploring our origins. Discoveries can start,” Dordain said.
The scientists are considering it a landmark development in a decade-long space mission. They are hoping that it may unfold some of the mysteries of the solar system.
Comets, formed around 4.6 billion years ago from the debris of the early solar system, could provide crucial leads about the primordial ingredients of the solar system that led to the formation the planets including our Earth.
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