Rosetta Spacecraft Arrives at Comet After a 10 Year 4 Billion Mile Journey, Sends Back Photos


After a decade of travel, the European Space Agency‘s Rosetta spacecraft has finally reached it’s destination. Launched in 2004, Rosetta’s goal was to arrive at Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko (67P), which it has finally done, after racking up 6.4 billion kilometers on its odometer.

Now at its destination, the next step in the mission is to look for the best landing spot for Philae, the 220lb lander onboard Rosetta. Thus, Rosetta will be spending the next little while snapping up photos for analysis, giving us a closer look at a comet than ever before.

A close-up of Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko (67P), captured by the ESA's Rosetta spacecraft.

A close-up of Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko (67P), captured by the ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft.

Once a landing spot is found and properly analyzed, Philae will descend, gently landing on the surface of the comet; the first time a spacecraft will have ever set tire on one. Once there, the goal is to more closely photograph and analyze the ice, dust and rock that make up these leftover pieces from the creation of the universe.

For now, what will be found is nothing more than a plethora of educated guesses. But, hopefully with the help of Rosetta and Philae, we’ll get a closer look at a comet than ever before. To see some of the images Rosetta has already captured, you can head on over to the ESA’s Rosetta website, here.

(via Laughing Squid)

Image credits: Photographs by European Space Agency

  • Grive

    Horrible harsh shadows. The ESA and whomever is standing in for Stanley Kubrick nowadays really needs to learn to work a reflector, or at the very least a softbox. Poor composition, too. It’s just… there. You need to rotate it around 105° counterclockwise to really bring out that rubber duckie shape. Thank god for small miracles, the background is so horribly underexposed (where are the stars if this is in space, dude) you’ll have no issue filling the blanks post-rotation.

    Seriously though. This is absolutely, positively awesome. I’ve been giddy all day after hearing these news. Hope the rest of the mission is successful.

  • ninpou_kobanashi

    “Philae will defend” -> descend?

  • ninpou_kobanashi


  • Gannon Burgett

    Fixed! Autocorrect got the best of me.

    Thanks for the heads-up :)

  • Mike

    Looks like a good HDR opportunity. Just don’t make it look like LSD trips.

  • seansebastian

    Thanks for saying “leftovers from the CREATION of the universe”. Something that has been created has a creator.

  • SwedishKiwi

    Yep. And it was Bumba. In the beginning, there was only darkness, water, and the great god
    Bumba. One day Bumba, in pain from a stomach ache, vomited up the sun.
    The sun dried up some of the water, leaving land. Still in pain, Bumba
    vomited up the moon, the stars, and then some animals. The leopard, the
    crocodile, the turtle, and finally, man.

    Or do you have a conflicting proposition?

  • Graf Almassy

    Morgan Freeman?

  • Eden Wong

    Thanks for the chuckle, Grive. Funniest comment here in days.

    And huge kudos to the European Space Agency. Rosetta has done a mind blowing job…

  • Ralph Hightower

    ESA should have equipped Rosetta with a few soft boxes and two or three huge honking flashes.

  • Anders Kjærsgaard

    Wonder what preset in vsco cam they used?