November 12, 2014

Probing a comet

Right now, a probe is trying to land on a comet.

The harrowing landing has been a decade in the making. The Rosetta orbiter launched in 2004, and orbited earth three times to pick up the speed required to let it catch 67P. At its furthest point from the sun, Rosetta got only 3 percent of the sunlight we receive on earth — a problem for its solar panels, which is how it generates its electricity. So it was designed to go into a kind of hibernation, with only the most vital functions running. In January, Rosetta woke up and in August, it caught 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.

This is so cool, fingers crossed it succeeds. Follow the probe on Twitter for more, and keep an eye on Sploid’s liveblog.

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