Feeds

TRIANGULAR orbits will help Rosetta to get up close with Comet 67P

Probe will be just 10km from Space Duck in October

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

The European Space Agency (ESA) has revealed just how its Rosetta comet probe will close to within just 10km of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

Rosetta arrived at the comet on August 6th and has since sent back lovely photos of the rock.

The mission plan calls for even better photos to become possible by bringing Rosetta closer to the comet.

Manoeuvres to do so have already commenced, with “burns” to adjust the probe's orbit having taken place on August 10th, 13th and 17th. Further burns scheduled for August 20th, 24th and 27th comprise part of the mission called “Close Approach Trajectory” (CAT) that are designed to change Rosetta's direction while also nestling in closer to 67P.

As the video below shows, the combined effect of the CAT burns and the “Transfer to Global Mapping” (TGM) manoeuvres in the mission's next phase will see Rosetta just 10km from 67P by October.

Between September 10th and October 7th, the craft will circle the comet at between 29km and 19km. It is hoped to keep Rosetta in view of the sun, so it can continue to gather solar energy and also take better shots of the comet in Sol's light.

Further orbital adjustments will mean 67P had better get ready for its close up, because by October 10th Rosetta will close to just 10km.

Observations recorded during this phase of the mission will play a part in selecting a landing site for Philae, the lander Rosetta has borne to 67P. ESA boffins are meeting this week to draw up a shortlist of five candidate touchdown zones.

Philae is due to touch down on November 11th.

A radio signal currently takes 22 minutes and 49 seconds to reach Rosetta, so when Philae touches down we'll all have to endure many nail-biting minutes before it is known if the craft made it down intact. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
Mine Bitcoins with PENCIL and PAPER
Forget Sudoku, crunch SHA-256 algos
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
'This BITE MARK is a SMOKING GUN': Boffins probe ancient assault
Tooth embedded in thigh bone may tell who pulled the trigger
DOLPHINS SMELL MAGNETS – did we hear that right, boffins?
Xavier's School for Gifted Magnetotaceans
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
Canberra drone team dances a samba in Outback Challenge
CSIRO's 'missing bushwalker' found and watered
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.