After A Decade, Comet-Chasing Spacecraft Nearly There
Geoff Brumfiel on August 4th, 2014
It’s been a long journey, but it’s nearly over. On Wednesday, the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft will finally arrive at the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
Humans have sent spacecraft hurtling past comets before, but Rosetta is doing something very different. It’s sidling up next to 67P to join the big, dirty ice ball on its journey past the sun.
Matching 67P’s velocity and orbit has been tricky. Rosetta took a torturous, decade-long path that led it past earth three times and Mars once, as well as a couple of asteroids. Ahead of its final approach, it came at the comet from behind at about half-a-mile a second, before a series of braking maneuvers earlier this year.
“It was a fantastic achievement just to get this far, I think,” says Matt Taylor, the European Space Agency’s Rosetta’s project scientist.
With its final thruster burn on Wednesday, it will bring itself into perfect step with the comet.
Then the science will begin.
Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
This entry was posted in News from NPR
. Bookmark the permalink
The reports are based on the results of more than 12,000 blood tests from 5,000 athletes. Experts said analysis shows the sport’s governing body has failed to take sufficient action against dopers.
The hitchBOT, as its creators named it, had already successfully traversed Canada and Germany. This summer, relying on the kindness of strangers, it wanted to travel from Massachusetts to California.
In the final proposal, Obama will unveil measures that are tougher than those in the 2014 draft proposal. The rules seek to curb carbon emissions from power plants by 32 percent by 2030.
Citing “huge disgust and sadness,” a conservation group said the lion nicknamed Jericho had been killed Saturday. But a researcher in Zimbabwe says he doesn’t believe it.
Nine of the largest fires cover areas of at least 1,000 acres each; a firefighter from Rapid City, S.D., was killed while battling one large blaze in Northern California.