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ESA spacecraft catches up with comet

by AprilSix Proof

Telegraph: Ten-year space chase nearly over for Rosetta

The European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft is the first in history to rendezvous with a comet. Launched from Earth over a decade ago, Rosetta was placed in deep space hibernation until January of this year, when it was programmed to chase after the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

Images taken by the craft over the past months showed the comet had a distinctive duck-like appearance, with further details emerging over time. By November, Rosetta should be close enough to attempt a soft landing on the comet’s surface.

“Today’s achievement is a result of a huge international endeavour spanning several decades,” said Alvaro Giménez, ESA’s Director of Science and Robotic Exploration.

“We have come an extraordinarily long way since the mission concept was first discussed in the late 1970s and approved in 1993, and now we are ready to open a treasure chest of scientific discovery that is destined to rewrite the textbooks on comets for even more decades to come.

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