Waking Rosetta: A Cheat Sheet

Rosetta swung by Mars for a gravity assist on its way towards a comet encounter planned for August, 2014.
Once upon a time in space…

[Update January 21: Success! Rosetta made contact with Earth, and is in excellent health. Use the links below to ride along with the mission.]

On Monday, January 20th, the European Space Agency’s comet-chasing spacecraft Rosetta is slated to emerge from years of hibernation in deep space. No one is entirely sure if it will work.

Here’s a quick guide to following along.

Mission Overview
(from ESA)

Rosetta is the first mission designed to orbit and land on a comet. It consists of an orbiter, carrying 11 science experiments, and a lander, called ‘Philae’, carrying 10 additional instruments, for the most detailed study of a comet ever attempted, scheduled to begin in August.

Rosetta gets its name from the famous Rosetta stone that led to the deciphering of Egyptian hieroglyphics almost 200 years ago. Similarly, scientists hope that Rosetta will unlock the mysteries of how the Solar System evolved.

During much of its long journey, the spacecraft has been kept in a deep sleep mode. In January, the spacecraft is scheduled to wake up and re-establish contact with Earth.

Official Wake-Up Event Info

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