Rosetta is about to put on the brakes to ensure that it is on target for comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
This video explains the crucial orbit correction manoeuvres that are required to slow down Rosetta’s speed, relative to the comet, from 750 metres per second to just one metre per second between 21 May and 5 August. By then, nine thruster burns (including one test burn in early May) will have reduced the distance between them from one million kms to just under 200 kms.
We also see the first images of the comet from the spacecraft’s OSIRIS camera (Optical, Spectroscopic and Infrared Remote Imaging System), taken between 24 March and 4 May 2014. As the spacecraft gets closer to the comet, further images will improve the orbital corrections and provide more details about the comet’s shape, size and rotation.
MIRO, built by an international team for the European Space Agency, will start taking measurements from late May onwards and will measure gases released from the comet as it approaches the Sun.
How big is Rosetta compared with the comet?
How to orbit a comet
Rosetta’s journey around the comet
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