Rosetta Space Probe Gets Interplanetary Wake-Up Call | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

Rosetta Space Probe Gets Interplanetary Wake-Up Call

... That's the message received from a bleary-eyed comet-chasing space probe on Monday, much to the relief of ground-based controllers who sent it a long distance wake-up call after nearly a three-year nap.

The European Space Agency received the communique from deep space on schedule at 1 p.m. ET from Rosetta, some 500 million miles away on a trajectory to rendezvous with comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in August. It's been in sleep mode to conserve power.

As we reported last month, Rosetta was launched in March 2004:

"The 6,600-pound spacecraft, which has spent nearly a decade making repeated flybys of Earth and Mars to gain enough speed to catch the comet, was put in hibernation in July 2011, after its last major gravity-assist maneuver. ...

"In August, Rosetta will pull up alongside and on Nov. 11, 2014, is set to place its robotic lander, called Philae (after an island in the Nile River) on the comet's surface."

The Associated Press says:

"Scientists hope the probe's findings will help them understand the composition of comets and thereby discover more about the origins and evolution of our solar system.

"Comets are regarded as flying time capsules because they are essentially unchanged for 4.6 billion years. Scientists have speculated that comets — which are essentially giant, dirty snowballs — may be responsible for the water found on some planets. And like asteroids, comets also pose a theoretical threat to life on Earth."

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Multispectral Imaging Could Reveal Secrets Of Martellus Map

A team of researchers are using multispectral imaging to uncover hidden text on a 1491 Martellus map, one of the most important maps in history. Lead researcher Chet Van Duzer thinks the discoveries will allow historians and scholars to see just how the map influenced cartography in its time.
NPR

Diet Soda May Alter Our Gut Microbes And The Risk Of Diabetes

There's a new wrinkle to the old debate over diet soda: Artificial sweeteners can alter our microbiomes. And for some, this may raise blood sugar levels and set the stage for diabetes.
NPR

Obama Renews Pledge To Keep Combat Forces Out Of Iraq, Syria

President Obama's remarks came as Congress votes to approve more military trainers in the region to aide the fight against the group that calls itself the Islamic State.
NPR

3.7 Million Comments Later, Here's Where Net Neutrality Stands

A proposal about how to maintain unfettered access to Internet content drew a bigger public response than any single issue in the Federal Communication Commission's history. What's next?

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.