[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.
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
- ESA’s live webcast – 20 January, coverage starts at 0915 GMT (10:15am CET | 4:15am EST)
- Main Rosetta page
- Rosetta blog
- Rosetta on Facebook
- Rosetta on Twitter (wakeup event hashtag: #WakeUpRosetta)
- Press fact sheet
- NASA’s Rosetta page
- Images of Rosetta and the Philae lander
- Rosetta videos
- Rosetta media coverage
- Image search: ESA Rosetta
- Article from The Planetary Society
- Rosetta on Wikipedia
- Rosetta in NASA’s “Eyes on the Solar System” 3D simulation
- More Rosetta-related images
- More about Rosetta’s target, Comet Churyumov–Gerasimenko