Rosetta

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• Launch date:  2  March  2004

• Orbital insertion:  31  July  2014

• End of mission: 30  September  2016

• Agency: ESA

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Rosetta is a European Space Agency mission to rendezvous with comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in May 2014. The main spacecraft will orbit the comet, while taking scientific measurements. A Surface Science Package (SSP) will land on the comet surface to take in-situ measurements. NASA has contributed three instruments to Rosetta – ALICE, MIRO, and IES – plus a significant portion of the electronics package for another instrument, ROSINA. ALICE , MIRO, and IES will provide information about the dynamics of comet C-G: how it develops its coma and tails, and how its chemicals interact with each other, and with radiation and the solar wind.

The principal goals are to study the origin of comets, the relationship between cometary and interstellar material and its implications with regard to the origin of the solar system.

Rosetta has a complex trajectory including three Earth and one Mars gravity assist maneuvre before finally reaching the comet finally reaching the comet after flybys of the asteroids Steins and Lutetia. On arrival at 67P Rosetta will enter orbit around the comet and stay with it as it journeys in towards the Sun.