Rosetta probe starts search for landing spot
With one mission accomplished another begins for the Rosetta probe
The 10-year space chase ended with the European Space Agency’s billion-Euros vessel coming within 100 kilometres of a comet where it will now begin the task of analysing the giant ball of dust and ice, a first in the history of space exploration.
The probe is now entering an even more ambitious phase, making a triangular orbit around the comet to assess its terrain and gravitational pull for an eventual landing in November.
“One of the consequences of this crazy shape is firstly finding a big enough area to land in,” explained Mark McCaughrean, Senior Science Advisor at the European Space Agency. “And the comet of course it’s an active body, it’s putting out gas, it’s putting out dust and we’re flying into that, not at high speed, it’s not going to endangered the spacecraft but it’s another factor that we have to consider. So all in all it’s going to be a big challenge and we’re up for it.”
The mission’s ultimate aim is to unlock the secrets of the Solar System and find out whether comets were the key to creating the building blocks for life on earth.