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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. 

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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.

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