Tonight's Sky
Sun
Sun
Moon
Moon
Mercury
Mercury
Venus
Venus
Mars
Mars
Jupiter
Jupiter
Saturn
Saturn

Tonight's Sky — Change location

OR

Searching...

Tonight's Sky — Select location

Tonight's Sky — Enter coordinates

° '
° '

Rosetta bound for outer solar system after final Earth swing-by

Rosetta is now departing Earth to meet asteroid (21) Lutetia in July 2010.
Provided by ESA, Noordwijk, Netherlands
Earth
Image of Earth acquired with the OSIRIS narrow-angle camera from a distance of 393,000 miles (633,000 kilometers) November 12, 2009.
ESA ©2009 MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/RSSD/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA
November 13, 2009
This morning, mission controllers confirmed that the European Space Agency's (ESA) comet chaser Rosetta had swung by Earth at 8:45 CET as planned, skimming past our planet to pick up a gravitational boost for an epic journey to rendezvous with comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in 2014.

Rosetta passed over the ocean, just south of the Indonesian island of Java, at exactly 04:45:40 EST, at a speed of 8.3 miles (13.34 kilometers) per second with respect to Earth at an altitude of 1,542 miles (2,481 kilometers). The swing-by was pre-planned and fully automated, and the spacecraft was in direct communication with Earth at the time via the ESA New Norcia Station.

The successful swing-by was confirmed at 05:05 EST when mission controllers re-established contact with Rosetta via ESA's Maspalomas station in Spain. Although a detailed analysis is in progress, spacecraft operators have confirmed that the swing-by provided a boost of 2.2 miles (3.6 kilometers) per second.

Europe's comet chaser now has flown a little over 2,800 million miles (4,500 million km) of its 4,400 million miles (7,100 million km) journey to its destination comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. This was Rosetta's fourth planetary swing-by and the third and final swing-by of Earth.

Some of Rosetta's instruments have been on since early November, performing imaging, magnetospheric, and atmospheric observations, as well as looking for water on the Moon. The first round of images and data recorded just before and during the swing-by will be downloaded later today.

Rosetta is now departing Earth to meet asteroid (21) Lutetia in July 2010. It has gained sufficient orbital energy to achieve its final goal: a rendezvous with comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in 2014. The spacecraft is scheduled to enter deep-space hibernation by mid 2011 for the coldest leg of its journey to receive a wake-up call in spring 2014.
0

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Read and share your comments on this article
Comment on this article
Want to leave a comment?
Only registered members of Astronomy.com are allowed to comment on this article. Registration is FREE and only takes a couple minutes.

Login or Register now.
0 comments
ADVERTISEMENT

FREE EMAIL NEWSLETTER

Receive news, sky-event information, observing tips, and more from Astronomy's weekly email newsletter.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
BoxProductcovernov

Click here to receive a FREE e-Guide exclusively from Astronomy magazine.

Find us on Facebook

Loading...