News archive

News archive

Like a hardy mariner preparing for a marathon journey from the tropical shores of Brazil to the icy waters of Cape Horn, the mettle of ESA's Rosetta spacecraft has been tested to the limit in recent weeks.
Published: 19 March 2002
Chase a fast-moving comet, land on it and 'ride' it while it speeds up towards the Sun: not the script of a science-fiction movie, but the very real task of ESA's Rosetta spacecraft. New observations with the European Southern Observatory's (ESO) Very Large Telescope (VLT) provide vital information about Comet Wirtanen - Rosetta's target - to help ESA reduce uncertainties in the mission, one of the most difficult ever to be performed.
Published: 25 February 2002
With less than 11 months to launch, the most advanced spacecraft ever to visit a comet is about to begin a critical series of thermal tests at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. These tests will play a vital role in ensuring the success of ESA's Rosetta mission to unravel the mysteries of Comet Wirtanen.
Published: 20 February 2002
The Rosetta Lander, designed to be the first spacecraft in the history of space exploration to make a soft-landing on the icy nucleus of a comet, has now joined its 'mother craft' at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in the Netherlands.Over the coming months, the two elements of the most ambitious mission ever to explore a comet will undergo a complex test programme to prepare them for their eight-year trek to the depths of the Solar System.
Published: 5 December 2001
A little more than one year from now, ESA's Rosetta spacecraft will be speeding through space at many thousands of kilometres per hour. In comparison, the orbiter's stately journey across Europe this week was fairly unspectacular, but the implications for the Rosetta programme are immense.
Published: 18 November 2001
A major landmark was passed this week in the race to prepare the Rosetta spacecraft for its January 2003 launch from South America. After the successful mating of the two modules that make up ESA's comet chaser, the Rosetta flight model is now ready for transportation to the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in the Netherlands. It will then undergo an exhaustive series of tests before shipment to the launch site at the end of summer 2002.
Published: 8 November 2001
15 years after ESA's Giotto spacecraft achieved an historic close range reconnaissance of Comet Halley, another probe from Earth has successfully followed in its footsteps.
Published: 26 September 2001
Sending a spacecraft such as Rosetta millions of kilometres into space to explore other worlds is one of the most exciting endeavours undertaken by modern science. However, the fiery launch and prolonged trek to rendezvous with a comet is not the only part of the story. Without a means of gathering the data from deep space, analysing and storing it, the spacecraft's mission is worthless.
Published: 20 September 2001
What do a comet, the Voyager mission, the Big Bang and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence have in common? Answer: Dr. Samuel Gulkis from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Principal Investigator for the Microwave Instrument for the Rosetta Orbiter (MIRO), has played a leading role in each of them.
Published: 10 August 2001
A miniaturised experiment that will help to unveil the mysteries of a comet is the latest of the instruments that will fly on ESA's Rosetta Orbiter to be delivered to Italy. The ALICE ultraviolet (UV) spectrometer, which arrived at the Turin plant of Alenia Spazio earlier this week, has already been tested and integrated on the Rosetta spacecraft.
Published: 20 July 2001
What is a comet really like? What is its interior like? Could it be a fluffy agglomeration of snow and dirt? Or perhaps it is solid all the way through like an iceberg encrusted with black organic material? Some have even likened it to a chocolate cake with a dark surface overlying a mixture of porous and solid material!
Published: 5 July 2001
The January 2003 launch of ESA's Rosetta comet chaser by an Ariane 5 rocket was confirmed on Tuesday, 19 June, at the Paris Air Show.
Published: 21 June 2001
From time to time, something may happen to bring home the fact that people are not compatible. At such times, it becomes obvious that there is a breakdown in a relationship with a partner or work colleague.
Published: 6 April 2001
An object that fell to Earth more than 136 years ago has revealed new clues about the origin of meteorites in space and new information about how life may have risen on the early Earth. The new study by astrobiologist Pascale Ehrenfreund and collaborators shows that the Orgueil meteorite, which fell in France in 1864, may be the first meteorite traced to a comet, rather than to an asteroid, the source widely believed to produce meteorites. The contents within Orgueil, the study says, may have been just the type of fundamental ingredients necessary to help generate life on Earth. Scientists have generally believed that a wide variety of amino acids were required for the origin of life on Earth. "Recent research suggests, however, that only a few types of simple amino acids may have been required, and that is exactly what was found to be present in Orgueil" .
Published: 1 March 2001
Even as the Rosetta Electrical Qualification Model (EQM) continues to be put through its paces in Italy, the Rosetta team is looking forward to the next stage in the spacecraft's development programme.
Published: 7 February 2001
With less than two years remaining before launch, engineers at AleniaSpazio in Turin were eagerly awaiting yesterday's delivery of the RosettaOrbiter flight structure.
Published: 17 January 2001
Sophisticated spacecraft such as ESA's Rosetta comet chaser are designed to carry state-of-the art instrumentation into the depths of the Solar System. However, innovative technology that has been developed for exploration beyond the Earth can sometimes find unusual applications back on the ground.
Published: 7 January 2001
On 25 December 2003, ESA's Mars Express orbiter will arrive in orbit around the Red Planet after releasing a small lander named Beagle 2 onto its rust-coloured, dusty deserts. This wonderful Christmas present for planetary scientists would not have been possible without major contributions from another ESA project - the Rosetta comet chaser.
Published: 24 December 2000
Representatives of the Rosetta science instrument teams came together from all over Europe and the United States last week for the 7th meeting of the Rosetta Science Working Team.
Published: 10 December 2000
The Rosetta Lander Electrical Qualification Model (EQM) is being preparedfor an exhaustive test programme following its safe delivery a two weeks ago tothe premises of Alenia Spazio in Turin, Italy.
Published: 23 October 2000
13-Aug-2020 03:20 UT

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