(SI Newswire) (COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.) After a 10-year journey, Europe's Rosetta spacecraft made history today when its lander Philae successfully attached to its destination, Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The European Space Agency (ESA) launched Rosetta aboard an Ariane 5 launch vehicle in March 2004 out of the space center in Kourou, French Guiana.
While not the first spacecraft to visit a comet, Rosetta is the first to orbit one and the first to send a lander to a comet's surface. Rosetta's instruments will study the comet from orbit, while Philae will collect samples from the surface and take close-up photos.
"Today's successful landing by Rosetta's Philae lander, a major contribution to this mission by the German Space Agency (DLR), at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is a tremendous accomplishment. We congratulate our partners at DLR and ESA for achieving yet another milestone during this ambitious mission," said Space Foundation Chief Executive Officer Elliot Pulham.
It is hoped that Rosetta's findings will help scientists uncover some of the mysteries about how our solar system was formed. It is expected that the study of elements that make up 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko will give scientists insight into the very earliest beginnings of our solar system. The spacecraft is named for the Rosetta Stone that allowed the deciphering of hieroglyphics and provided clues about ancient Egyptian civilization.
Follow the Rosetta mission at www.esa.int/ESA.
About the Space Foundation
The Space Foundation partners with space agencies around the world, including ESA and DLR. This fall, the Space Foundation and DLR hosted the fourth meeting of the U.S.-Germany Aerospace Roundtable (UGART) in Frankfurt, attended by representatives of 30 industries and 20 agencies. The meeting included a visit to ESA's Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt for a detailed briefing on the Rosetta mission.
The Space Foundation is the foremost advocate for all sectors of space, and is a global, nonprofit leader in space awareness activities, educational programs and major industry events, including the annual Space Symposium, in support of its mission "to advance space-related endeavors to inspire, enable and propel humanity." Space Foundation World Headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo., USA, has a public Discovery Center, including the El Pomar Space Gallery, the Northrop Grumman Science Center featuring Science On a Sphere® and the Lockheed Martin Space Education Center.
Founded in 1983, the Space Foundation has a field office in Houston, and conducts government affairs from its Washington, D.C., office. It annually publishes The Space Report: The Authoritative Guide to Global Space Activity and through its Space CertificationTM and Space Technology Hall of Fame® programs, recognizes space-based innovations that have been adapted to improve life on Earth. Visit www.SpaceFoundation.org, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube, and read our e-newsletter Space Watch.