Follow ESA's mission to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko
  1. Watch the amazing cartoon adventures of Rosetta and Philae, now back-to-back in one special feature-length production. Find out how Rosetta and Philae first got inspired to visit a comet, and follow them on their incredible ten-year journey through the Solar System to their destination, flying around planets and past asteroids along the way. Watch as Philae tries to land on the comet and deals with some unexpected challenges! Learn about the fascinating observations that Rosetta made as she watched the comet change before her eyes as they got closer to the Sun and then further away again. Finally, wish Rosetta farewell, as she, too, finishes her amazing adventure on the surface of the comet. Keep watching for one last surprise! French version: Italian version: Spanish version: German version:
  2. Now in one complete animation: Rosetta’s trajectory around Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, from arrival to mission end. The animation begins on 31 July 2014, during Rosetta’s final approach to the comet after its ten-year journey through space. The spacecraft arrived at a distance of 100 km on 6 August, from where it gradually approached the comet and entered initial mapping orbits that were needed to select a landing site for Philae. These observations also enabled the first comet science of the mission. The manoeuvres in the lead up to, during and after Philae’s release on 12 November are seen, before Rosetta settled into longer-term science orbits. In February and March 2015 the spacecraft made several flybys. One of the closest triggered a ‘safe mode’ that forced it to retreat temporarily until it was safe to draw gradually closer again. The comet’s increased activity in the lead up to and after perihelion in August 2015 meant that Rosetta remained well beyond 100 km for several months. In June 2015, contact was restored with Philae again – albeit temporary, with no permanent link able to be maintained, despite a series of dedicated trajectories flown by Rosetta for several weeks. Following the closest approach to the Sun, Rosetta made a dayside far excursion some 1500 km from the comet, before re-approaching to closer orbits again, enabled by the reduction in the comet’s activity. In March–April 2016 Rosetta went on another far excursion, this time on the night side, followed by a close flyby and orbits dedicated to a range of science observations. In early August the spacecraft started flying elliptical orbits that brought it progressively closer to the comet. On 24 September Rosetta left its close, flyover orbits and switched into the start of a 16 x 23 km orbit that was used to prepare […]
  3. In September–October 2016, over 200 people contributed to the Rosetta Legacy campaign, sharing stories, images, videos, creations and experiences to convey what the mission had meant to them. We decided to collect all contributions in an e-book, to keep a long-lasting record of the mission’s impact on a variety of public audiences. This publication presents a collection of these outstanding contributions and provides a taste of Rosetta’s legacy for fellow science communicators, scientists and engineers, educators, space enthusiasts – anyone who was fascinated by the mission. The e-book (pdf, 33MB) is available here. Thanks again to everyone who shared with us their impressions of the mission, and to all followers of Rosetta and Philae worldwide.
  4. A new batch of thousands of images from Rosetta’s OSIRIS imaging system have been released into ESA’s Archive Image Browser and the Planetary Science Archive. This latest OSIRIS data release comprises 2423 narrow-angle camera images and 4378 wide-angle camera images from the period 11 March – 24 May 2015. You can browse through the new images in the MTP 014, 015 and 016 albums here.  
  5. On 30 September 2016, at 11:19:37 UT in ESA’s mission control, Rosetta’s signal flat-lined, confirming that the spacecraft had completed its incredible mission on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko some 40 minutes earlier and 720 million km from Earth. Rosetta was working up to the very end, collecting reams of science data as it descended towards a region of pits in the Ma’at region on the comet’s ‘head’. Before we ‘retire’ the blog, we wanted to catch up with the instrument teams following this grand finale to find out how their instruments performed and if there were any surprises in Rosetta’s last ‘words’ from the comet. First a reminder of the impact site: Rosetta was targeting a point within a 700 x 500 m ellipse, between two pits in the Ma’at region. Reconstruction of the final descent trajectory showed that the spacecraft touched down at 10:39:34 UT at the comet, only 33 metres away from the target point and just inside a shallow, ancient pit. This accuracy once again highlights the excellent work done by the flight dynamics specialists who supported the entire mission. The touchdown site was subsequently named Sais after a town in Egypt where the Rosetta Stone, for which the mission was named, is thought to have been originally located. Right before impact, one of Rosetta’s star trackers generated an event reporting a ‘Large Object’ in the field of view: this was the local comet ‘horizon’. Upon touchdown, the signal coming from Rosetta was lost, and mission operators believe that this was most likely caused by the high gain antenna immediately off-pointing from Earth at impact. No further telemetry was received subsequently, indicating that the planned safe mode and subsequent shut down of the spacecraft likely occurred successfully. Rosetta’s last image was taken with the OSIRIS wide-angle […]