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Rosetta And OSIRIS - Mission To Catch A Comet ... The Rosetta Spacecraft - Mission to Catch a Comet! Comets have inspired awe and wonder since the dawn of history. Many scientists today believe that comets crashed into Earth in its formative period spewing organic molecules that were crucial to the growth of life. Comets may have formed about the same time as the giant planets of our solar system (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune) - about 4.6 billion years ago. Some scientists think that comets and planets were both made from the same clumps of dust and ice that spewed from our Suns birth; others think that these roving time capsules are even older than that, and that they may contain grains of interstellar stuff that is even older than our solar system! --- Please SUBSCRIBE to Science & Reason: • • • --- Attempting New Firsts in Space Rosetta is a spacecraft on a ten-year mission to catch the comet "67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko" (C-G) and answer some of our questions about comets. Rosetta will be the first spacecraft to soft-land a robot on a comet! Rosetta will also be the first spacecraft to accompany a comet as it enters our inner solar system, observing at close range how the comet changes as the Suns heat transforms it into the luminous apparition that has frightened and inspired people for centuries. Named after the Rosetta Stone The Rosetta spacecraft is named after the ancient Rosetta Stone that you can visit today in Londons British Museum. The Philae lander is named after the Philae Obelisk which, together with the Rosetta Stone, provided the key to our first understanding of Egyptian hieroglyphs, or picture words. Scientists hope that the Rosetta spacecraft will enable us to translate the even older language of comets, as expressed by their thermal signatures, into new knowledge about the origins of our solar system and, perhaps, life on Earth. An International Mission with U.S. Support This daring international mission is spearheaded by the European Space Agency (ESA), with key support and instruments from NASA. NASA contributed three of the orbiter's instruments (ALICE, MIRO, and IES) and part of the electronics package for the Double Focussing Mass Spectrometer - one of two detectors on the Swiss ROSINA instrument. NASA is also providing science investigators for selected non-U.S. instruments. In all, NASA is involved to a greater or lesser degree in Alice, MIRO, IES, OSIRIS, Radio Science, ROSINA, and VIRTIS experiments. NASA's Deep Space Network provides backup support for ESA's Ground Station Network for spacecraft tracking and navigation. .
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