Rosetta – Final Fly-By


Credit: ESA Image

The European Space Agency (ESA) spacecraft Rosetta will make its third and final flyby of the Earth a month from now. Rosetta will swing by Earth on 13 November and begin the final leg of its 10-year journey to the outer Solar System. Several observations of the Earth–Moon system are planned before the spacecraft heads out to study comet 67/P Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
A summary of the mission from ESA reads:

The International Rosetta Mission was approved in November 1993 by ESA’s Science Programme Committee as the Planetary Cornerstone Mission in ESA’s long-term space science programme. The mission goal was initially set for a rendezvous with comet 46 P/Wirtanen. After postponement of the initial launch a new target was set: Comet 67 P/Churyumov- Gerasimenko. On its 10 year journey to the comet, the spacecraft will pass by two asteroids: 2867 Steins (in 2008) and 21 Lutetia (in 2010).

The ESA Rosetta blog has been reactivated. The latest entry is here.


Credit: ESA Image of Approach to Steins


  • February 2004, Rosetta was launched by an Ariane-5 launch from Kourou in French Guiana.
  • March 2005, Rosetta makes its first fly-by of Earth, and heads toward Mars.
  • February 2007, Rosetta makes its fly-by of Mars
  • November 2007, Rosetta makes its second fly-by of Earth, and heads toward the asteroid belt.
  • September 2008, the Rosetta spacecraft encounters asteroid (2867) Steins.
  • November 2009, third Earth fly-by.
  • July 2010, Rosetta will encounter asteroid 21 Lutetia.
  • May 2011 – January 2014, Rosetta goes into hibernation on the way to comet 67 P/Churyumov- Gerasimenko.
  • May 2014, Rosetta arrives in the vicinity of comet 67 P/Churyumov- Gerasimenko and goes into orbit.
  • Rosetta observes the comet on its plunge toward the sun, deploying the lander

Credit: ESA Image

The Rosetta orbiter has eleven scientific instruments:

  • ALICE Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrometer
  • CONSERT Comet Nucleus Sounding
  • COSIMA Cometary Secondary Ion Mass Analyser
  • GIADA Grain Impact Analyser and Dust Accumulator
  • MIDAS Micro-Imaging Analysis System
  • MIRO Microwave Instrument for the Rosetta Orbiter
  • OSIRIS Rosetta Orbiter Imaging System
  • ROSINA Rosetta Orbiter Spectrometer for Ion and Neutral Analysis
  • RPC Rosetta Plasma Consortium
  • RSI Radio Science Investigation
  • VIRTIS Visible and Infrared Mapping Spectrometer
The Rosetta lander has nine scientific instruments:

  • APXS Alpha Proton X-ray Spectrometer
  • ÇIVA / ROLIS Rosetta Lander Imaging System
  • CONSERT Comet Nucleus Sounding
  • COSAC Cometary Sampling and Composition experiment
  • MODULUS PTOLEMY Evolved Gas Analyser
  • MUPUS Multi-Purpose Sensor for Surface and Subsurface Science
  • ROMAP RoLand Magnetometer and Plasma Monitor
  • SD2 Sample and Distribution Device
  • SESAME Surface Electrical and Acoustic Monitoring Experiment, Dust Impact Monitor

Credit: ESA Image

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