European Space Agency(ESA)’s Rosetta spacecraft chased the comet named 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko (67P) (situated between the orbitrs of Mars and Jupiter) and successfully launched the lander Philae to be landed on the comet. This is the first space mission to have landed a robotic lander on a comet, but the robot is struggling with anchoring due to weak gravity conditions. Later it was stabilized in due process of actions.
The Rosetta, orbiter was launched in March 2004 to study about the comet along with lander Philae. Since after reaching on August 2014, it has been orbiting the comet studying about the suitable place to land the lander. The mission is to end by December 2015.
The lander would collect samples from the comet, which will unlock science about how planets were evolved, so as life on it. The comets form part of the solar system which are 4.6 billion years old.
Rosetta is equipped with 11 instruments for monitoring and sample collection activities. The list of instruments carried are as follows
- ALICE (an ultraviolet imaging spectrograph).
- OSIRIS (Optical, Spectroscopic, and Infrared Remote Imaging System).
- VIRTIS (Visible and Infrared Thermal Imaging Spectrometer).
- MIRO (Microwave Instrument for the Rosetta Orbiter).
- CONSERT (Comet Nucleus Sounding Experiment by Radiowave Transmission).
- RSI (Radio Science Investigation).
- ROSINA (Rosetta Orbiter Spectrometer for Ion and Neutral Analysis).
- MIDAS (Micro-Imaging Dust Analysis System).
- COSIMA (Cometary Secondary Ion Mass Analyser).
- GIADA (Grain Impact Analyser and Dust Accumulator).
- RPC (Rosetta Plasma Consortium).
The lander is equipped with 10 instruments which are APXS (Alpha X-ray Spectrometer), ÇIVA – Six identical micro-cameras take panoramic pictures of the surface, CONSERT (Comet Nucleus Sounding Experiment by Radiowave Transmission), COSAC (Cometary Sampling and Composition experiment), PTOLEMY is an evolved gas analyser, MUPUS (Multi-Purpose Sensors for Surface and Subsurface Science), ROLIS (Rosetta Lander Imaging System), ROMAP (Rosetta Lander Magnetometer and Plasma Monitor), SD2 (Sample and Distribution Device) and SESAME (Surface Electrical Sounding and Acoustic Monitoring Experiments).
Source – Reuters, Bloomberg, ESA