Feeds

ESA readies Rosetta for next year's comet touchdown

Pssst … time to wake up

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More than nine years after its launch, and after a long deep-sleep, the ESA's Rosetta comet-hunter is soon to be woken up for a November 2014 rendezvous with comet comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.

ESA officials will be watching the clock after 10:00 GMT on January 20, waiting to receive the signals that will tell them Rosetta has fired up and is communicating again. That will end a two-year hibernation that begun when the spacecraft finished five “slingshot” runs around Earth, Mars and the Sun, to reach the 100,000 km/h velocity it needs to catch 67P.

During the hibernation, the ESA worked on fixes for glitches in the reaction wheels that it will use for steering, and a leak in a helium tank that's needed to provide manoeuvring thrust.

When it wakes, Rosetta will be around 800 million kilometres distant, with signals taking 45 minutes to make the trip.

Once awake, Rosetta will be set to work locating the comet, moving into rendezvous position near the comet in August 2014. After a few months photographing and mapping the comet's surface, Rosetta will then dispatch a barrel-sized lander, Philae, to study the comet's nucleus close-up.

The lander will send back humanity's first photos of a comet on its surface, and will then drill into the surface to take samples. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis
Musk charging nearly half as much as Boeing for crew trips
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
India's MOM Mars mission makes final course correction
Mangalyaan probe will feel the burn of orbital insertion on September 24th
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.