JUL 01, 2016 10:06 AM PDT

ESA Announces Termination Date for Rosetta Spacecraft

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

Comet 67P has been a major point of interest in our solar system since the European Space Agency sent its Rosetta spacecraft out to study it and even used it to try to land its Philae lander on the comet’s surface to grab samples and immersive data.
 
Philae unfortunately didn’t land properly and lacks the proper sunlight exposure to charge its systems with its on-board solar arrays. It was last heard from mid-2015 and its signals were very weak.
 
Although Philae is lost and will probably never be heard from again, Rosetta has been functioning and taking constant photographs of 67P while orbiting the comet, and has been giving the ESA new terrains and perspectives to study to better understand comets in our solar system.
 

An artist's impression of the Rosetta spacecraft dropping off the Philae lander on comet 67P.

Image Credit: European Space Agency

That, however, will soon come to an end.

 
The ESA has announced this week that Rosetta is scheduled for termination September 30th. As Comet 67P continues to move away from the Sun, further and further from the power source it feeds off of, Rosetta will soon lack the power necessary to continue its observations.
 
On this date, Rosetta will stop orbiting 67P and will crash-land on 67P’s surface, effectively terminating its operations.
 
Before then, scientists are working hard to collect as much data on 67P as they possibly can. Additionally, when the termination is set to occur, all functions of the satellite will be switched off apart from a few sensors that will more closely monitor 67P, as well as cameras, and this equipment will relay information back to Earth during Rosetta’s final moments.
 
“We’re trying to squeeze as many observations in as possible before we run out of solar power,” says Matt Taylor, ESA Rosetta project scientist. 

“30 September will mark the end of spacecraft operations, but the beginning of the phase where the full focus of the teams will be on science. That is what the Rosetta mission was launched for and we have years of work ahead of us, thoroughly analyzing its data.”
 
Nevertheless, 67P isn’t the end of space observations as we know them. We have a number of spacecraft out in our solar system that are working hard to reveal the secrets of how we got here. New Horizons is rocketing out into the Kuiper Belt, and Juno is soon set to reach Jupiter.

There are indeed some exciting times ahead, so stay tuned!

Source: ESA via BBC

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
AUG 09, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Moon's Magnetism Comes from Impacting Comets, not Magnetic Shield
AUG 09, 2021
Moon's Magnetism Comes from Impacting Comets, not Magnetic Shield
Magnetization on the moon may come from impact events from objects like meteors instead of the presence of a magnetic sh ...
SEP 23, 2021
Immunology
Houses on Mars Held Together With Astronaut Blood?!
SEP 23, 2021
Houses on Mars Held Together With Astronaut Blood?!
A protein abundantly present in the blood plasma of astronauts is perfect for building shelters in outer space, say rese ...
SEP 20, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Researchers Find the Source of Gamma Rays in the 'Empty' Sky
SEP 20, 2021
Researchers Find the Source of Gamma Rays in the 'Empty' Sky
Gamma rays have been observed in parts of the sky that seem to be 'empty,' so researchers have long-wondered about their ...
OCT 21, 2021
Earth & The Environment
Cosmic Radiation Events shed light on Norse Settlement in the Americas
OCT 21, 2021
Cosmic Radiation Events shed light on Norse Settlement in the Americas
A new open access study published in Nature yesterday showcases a relatively new method in archaeology. In an attempt to ...
DEC 01, 2021
Space & Astronomy
The Two Closest Supermassive Black Holes
DEC 01, 2021
The Two Closest Supermassive Black Holes
A team of international researchers have observed the center of galaxy NGC 7727 and found two supermassive black holes ( ...
JAN 06, 2022
Space & Astronomy
Could Life Exist in Venus Clouds?
JAN 06, 2022
Could Life Exist in Venus Clouds?
The planet Venus is a hellish and inhospitable world. It has an average surface temperature of 737 K (464 ˚C, 867 ˚F) an ...
Loading Comments...