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The Mission

màxim In November 1993, the International Rosetta Mission was approved as a Cornerstone Mission in ESA's Horizons 2000 Science Programme. Since then, scientists and engineers from all over Europe and the United States have been combining their talents to build an orbiter and a lander for this unique expedition to unravel the secrets of a mysterious 'mini' ice world – a comet. The adventure began March 2004, when a European Ariane 5 rocket lifted off from Kourou in French Guiana.
During a circuitous ten-year trek across the Solar System, Rosetta will cross the asteroid belt and travel into deep space, more than five times Earth’s distance from the Sun. Its destination will be a periodic comet known as Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.The Rosetta orbiter will rendezvous with Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and remain in close proximity to the icy nucleus as it plunges towards the warmer inner reaches of the Sun’s domain. At the same time, a small lander will be released onto the surface of this mysterious cosmic iceberg.
Rosetta realizará el estudio más detallado de un cometa hecho hasta el momento. Medirá el incremento de actividad experimentado a medida que la superficie de hielo se calienta por el Sol. El aterrizador se centrará en la composición y estructura del material del núcleo del cometa. También perforará el subsuelo más de 20 cm para recoger muestras para su examen en el laboratorio de abordo.

The spacecraft

màxim Rosetta is a large aluminium box with dimensions 2.8 x 2.1 x 2.0 metres. The scientific instruments are mounted on the 'top' of the box (Payload Support Module) while the subsystems are on the 'base' (Bus Support Module).On one side of the orbiter is a 2.2-metre diameter communications dish – the steerable high-gain antenna. The lander is attached to the opposite face. Two enormous solar panel 'wings' extend from the other sides. These wings, each 32 square metres in area, have a total span of about 32 metres tip to tip. Each of them comprises five panels, and both may be rotated through +/-180 degrees to catch the maximum amount of sunlight.
màxim The lander structure consists of a baseplate, an instrument platform, and a polygonal sandwich construction, all made of carbon fibre. Some of the instruments and subsystems are beneath a hood that is covered with solar cells.An antenna transmits data from the surface to Earth via the orbiter. The lander carries nine experiments, with a total mass of about 21 kilograms. It also carries a drilling system to take samples of subsurface material.

Rosetta News

màxim Name Rossetta mission's landing site, 16 October, ESA and its Rosetta mission partners are inviting you to suggest a name for the site where lander Philae will touch down on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko on 12 November.
The competition opens today and will run until 23:59 GMT on 22 October. The winner will be announced on 3 November on the main Rosetta web page (, via ESA’s social media channels, as well as on the German, French and Italian space agency (DLR, CNES and ASI) web pages and social media channels.

màxim ESA confirms the primary landing site for Rosetta, 15 October,
ESA has given the green light for its Rosetta mission to deliver its lander, Philae, to the primary site on 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko on 12 November, in the first-ever attempt at a soft touchdown on a comet.

màxim Utetia's dark side hosts a hidden crater 8 October 2014,
Grooves found on Lutetia, an asteroid encountered by ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft, point to the existence of a large impact crater on the unseen side of the rocky world.

màxim How Rosetta arrives at a comet 2 August 2014,
After travelling nearly 6.4 billion kilometres through the Solar System, ESA’s Rosetta is closing in on its target. But how does a spacecraft actually arrive at a comet?
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