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

The Ol' Puzzle Switcheroo

Every answer is a made-up two-word phrase, where the second and third letters of the first word are switched to get the second word.
NPR

College Life Doesn't Have To Mean Crummy Cuisine, Says Dorm Room Chef

Sick of dining hall pizza, public health student Emily Hu taught herself how to cook — even with no oven. Now she's hoping to inspire her peers to pick up cooking skills and healthier eating habits.
NPR

Democrat Seeks Limits On Operations Against ISIS

Rep. Adam Schiff of California plans to introduce a bill that would authorize military operations against ISIS. NPR's Rachel Martin talks to Rep. Schiff about the new legislation.
NPR

In Sweden, Remote-Control Airport Is A Reality

Sweden is the first country in the world to use new technology to land passenger airplanes remotely. At an airport in a tiny town, flights are guided by operators sitting miles away.

Leave a Comment

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