Comet 67P (Churyumov-Gerasimenko) and The Rosetta Spacecraft
Rosetta’s Mission Target
Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko (67P) will be the focus of the Rosetta spacecraft mission which is due to last until December 2015. Rosetta arrived at Comet 67P in early August and, after spending a month scanning the comet for a suitable landing site, ESA announced on September 15th that they will deploy the lander (Philae) to a point selected on the comet’s (so called) head. The deployment of Philae is due totake place this coming November.
Not a New Comet
Discovered in 1969, Comet 67P (Churyumov-Gerasimenko) is a Jupiter family comet measuring 4.5km across. It has an orbital period of 6.5 years and its closest point to the Sun at perihelion is 1.2458 AU (186m kilometres). Although Comet 67P won’t be visible with the naked eye from Earth, the Rosetta Spacecraft will make sure it is seen around the world in unprecedented detail.
The image to the right was taken by Rosetta’s Nav Cam on August 7th, 2014.
ESA have released a stunning composite 3D image of Comet 67P which can be found here.
See below the following table for a diagram of Rosetta’s current location…