Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Countdown Begins: Rosetta’s Philae probe is set to make the first-ever landing on a Comet!

As the Rosetta Mission's is getting closer to the most crucial part of the mission, i.e. landing on the comet 67P/ C-G, we, Nepal Astronomical Society (NASO), are working with media to take this greatest event of space exploration to the public as much as possible. We would like to thank the ESA TV team and EuroVision Team for the information which we managed to convey to the TV channels to explore the possibility of taking this event to every household via Nepal Television and Avenues Television.

Rosetta is a cornerstone mission to chase, go into orbit around, and land on a comet. It is studying the Jupiter-family comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko with a combination of remote sensing and in situ measurements. The spacecraft arrived at the comet on 6 August 2014 following a 10-year journey through the Solar System. Between August and November, the spacecraft has been orbiting the comet and gathering data to characterise the environment and the comet nucleus. On 12 November 2014, Rosetta's lander Philae will be deployed to the surface. Philae carries a suite of instruments for imaging and sampling the comet nucleus. The Rosetta orbiter will track the comet through perihelion (August 2015), examining its behavior before, during and after.

Here's the timeline for the Rosetta Mission reflecting accomplished works as well as remaining part of the mission:

EventNominal date
Launch2 March 2004
First Earth gravity assist4 March 2005
Mars gravity assist25 February 2007
Second Earth gravity assist13 November 2007
Asteroid Steins flyby5 September 2008
Third Earth gravity assist13 November 2009
Asteroid Lutetia flyby10 July 2010
Enter deep space hibernation8 June 2011
Exit deep space hibernation20 January 2014
Rendezvous manoeuvres begin7 May 2014
Arrive at comet 6 August 2014
Start global mapping10 September 2014
Lander delivery12 November 2014
Perihelion passage13 August 2015
End of mission31 December 2015

The objectives of the missions are:
  • To study the origin of comets, the relationship between cometary and interstellar material, and its implications with regard to the origin of the Solar System. The measurements to be made to achieve this are:
  • Global characterisation of the nucleus, determination of dynamic properties, surface morphology and composition;
  • Determination of the chemical, mineralogical and isotopic compositions of volatiles and refractories in a cometary nucleus;
  • Determination of the physical properties and interrelation of volatiles and refractories in a cometary nucleus;
  • Study of the development of cometary activity and the processes in the surface layer of the nucleus and the inner coma (dust/gas interaction);
  • Global characterisation of asteroids, including determination of dynamic properties, surface morphology and composition.
There are altogether 21 instruments as mentioned below:


AliceUltraviolet Imaging Spectrometer
CONSERTComet Nucleus Sounding Experiment by Radio wave Transmission
COSIMACometary Secondary Ion Mass Analyser
GIADAGrain Impact Analyser and Dust Accumulator
MIDASMicro-Imaging Dust Analysis System
MIROMicrowave Instrument for the Rosetta Orbiter
OSIRISOptical, Spectroscopic, and Infrared Remote Imaging System
ROSINARosetta Orbiter Spectrometer for Ion and Neutral Analysis
RPCRosetta Plasma Consortium
RSIRadio Science Investigation
VIRTISVisible and Infrared Thermal Imaging Spectrometer


APXSAlpha Proton X-ray Spectrometer
ÇIVA and ROLISPanoramic and microscopic imaging system
CONSERTComet Nucleus Sounding Experiment by Radio wave Transmission
COSACCometary Sampling and Composition experiment
PTOLEMYEvolved Gas Analyser
MUPUSMulti-Purpose Sensor for Surface and Subsurface Science
ROMAPRosetta lander Magnetometer and Plasma Monitor
SD2Sample and Distribution Device
SESAMESurface Electric Sounding and Acoustic Monitoring Experiment
To  know more about our work on taking this historic event to public in Nepal, like us at or subscribe our blog ( you can do that by submitting your email at the top right of this page)!
Looking forward to have successful landing! Happy Landing Philae :) 

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