Today, at around 3 PM, I got news of Rosetta’s rendezvous with the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko via Twitter. This is the first spacecraft that has rendezvoused with a comet with the specific intention of orbiting, studying and landing on it. I only re-tweeted a few tweets as I was at work.
Image: Rosetta spacecraft in its stowed configuration as it prepares for liftoff on board the Ariane-V. Image Credit: ESA/Arianespace. Original Image
I first heard of Rosetta way back in 2004, when it lifted-off. I was then in college hanging around for my turn at a computer at a cybercafé waiting to access the Internet to learn the latest updates when I read about the mission. I thought of it, then, as a wild goose chase and dismissed it. I then caught up with news on the spacecraft on the ESA website and on Twitter later in 2011. I have been excited at the steady and slow progress it made as it gained on the comet since then and have especially been following their updates on their blog as well as following them on Twitter.
There is a lot of good coverage in the blogsphere about today’s event which explains things a lot better than I ever will be able to, in my opinion. You should start with the ESA blog that covers the event itself as well as what they expect to do next (some science and find a place to land that lander, Philae). Emily Lakdawalla has a load of pictures from the comet. You can also go to Spaceflight Now’s Mission Update Centre that offers nice summary updates (for the time hungry) with links to detailed stories (for the information hungry). I’ll add more good blog posts about the Rosetta mission here as I find them.