Rosetta gets the go to descend to six miles

Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right or below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

After spending a week circling Comet 67P/C-G at a distance of about 12 miles, engineers have now decided they can move Rosetta in to only six miles.

A series of manoeuvres will reduce Rosetta’s distance from its current 18.6 km orbit (taking 7 days) to an intermediate orbit approximately 18.6 x 9.8 km (with a period of about 5 days). From there the orbit will be circularised at about 9.8 km radius, with a period of approximately 66 hours on 15 October, and the mission will enter the “Close Observation Phase” (COP). This will provide even higher resolution images of the landing site in order to best prepare for Philae’s challenging touch-down. The new orbit will also allow a number of Rosetta’s science instruments to collect dust and measure the composition of gases closer to the nucleus.


One comment

  • danae

    Only a week until Rosetta literally gets down to the nitty-gritty stage of the mission. ESA rocks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *