Monday, 20 January 2014 - 12:23
ESA sending a wake-up call to Rosetta satellite
On Monday, the European Space Agency will send a wake-up call to Rosetta, the agency’s comet-chasing spacecraft. Rosetta is scheduled to wake-up from nearly three-year hibernation on January 20 at 10:00 GMT. Once awake, Rosetta will start its mission to chase down a comet. It will chase down Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. Rosetta and Philae at comet / ESA.int Rosetta was first launched in 2004 and was soon put into position in deep space and was shut down, save for the satellite’s computer and heating system, on June 8, 2011, International Business Times reported. According to ESA, Rosetta would be able to begin communicating with Earth in seven hours. Rosetta will stay in close orbit with the comet and ESA will deploy the Philae lander in November. If successful, it would be the first time a spacecraft has landed on a comet. Rosettawill observe the comet for 16 months. It carries 11 science instrument packages to identify the chemical composition of the comet as well as changes in temperature and gas activity as the object heats up. ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain said that he is "nervous" and "excited" as the day of Rosetta's exit from hibernation arrived. "We shall be on and around the comet to see how it is ‘living’ for more than one year, " he said. "That is a big difference from the Giotto mission – it is a much bigger mission. "It's risky, because nobody has done that before, but this is the price to pay to learn about the origin of the Solar System and perhaps more of the origin of life."