Rosetta Orbiter spacecraft

Rosetta Orbiter spacecraft

Courtesy of NASA

Rosetta was sent by the European Space Agency and a combined international team on a 10-year mission to comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko where it plans to land a robot in the year 2014. On its way, Rosetta will make observations of other comets, planets and asteroids.

March 2, 2004

May 2014

End of Mission
Still operating, but planned ending is December 2015

Study the origin of comets. Study the relationship between comets and other interstellar material and what this tells us about the origin of the solar system. Describe the comet nucleus, surface features, and composition. Study the nucleus of comets and the interaction of dust and gas in the comet’s inner head.

During its journey to Comet C-G, Rosetta performed two gravity-assist flybys of Earth and Mars. En route to Mars, Rosetta’s instruments provided before and after images of the collision between Deep Impact’s impactor and comet Tempel 1. Rosetta also returned extraordinary images in July 2010 of the large asteroid, 21-Lutetia.