Rosetta spacecraft checks in with Earth

If the Rosetta mission goes as planned, the orbiting spacecraft (upper right) will send the robotic lander Philae (smaller probe) to explore the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, as shown in this artist’s illustration. 

ATG Medialab and C. Carreau/ESA

After a 31-month deep sleep, the Rosetta spacecraft has successfully transmitted a signal to Earth.

ESA controllers can now prepare the spacecraft for its August 2014 rendezvous with comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. If the mission proceeds as planned, a robotic probe called Philae will land on the comet in November 2014.

This mission is the first attempt to put a spacecraft in orbit around a comet’s core and to land a probe on a comet’s surface.

photo of Ashley Yeager

Ashley Yeager is the associate news editor at Science News. She has worked at The Scientist, the Simons Foundation, Duke University and the W.M. Keck Observatory, and was the web producer for Science News from 2013 to 2015. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a master’s degree in science writing from MIT.

More Stories from Science News on Astronomy

From the Nature Index

Paid Content