We are approaching one of those events that will make the humankind take a giant leap. November 12th, the spatial probe Rosetta will started the descent maneuver of its module Philae, which landed on the nucleus of the comet 67P/Churiúmov-Guerasimenko, discovered in 1969 by the soviet scientists Klim Churyumov and Svetlana Gerasimenko.
The orbital period of this comet is 6.6 years and it has an approximate volume of 25km^3. It features two lateral lobes that make it appear lengthened. The module Philae was expected to land on the central part of the surface, with a delicate moving since the comet has a rotation period of 12 hours and there is no rush.
ESA website explains the main motivation to the mission, the search of the key to life on Earth. According to their explanations, the origin of water and life on Earth has remained a mystery for a long time, so they started looking for an answer far beyond our planet. Their attention would soon be focused on comets, billions of spatial rocks made up of dust, ice and complex molecules, globetrotting around our solar system since it was born.
The spatial probe Rosetta, sent by the ESA on 2004 to “catch” the giant, is now hardly 10km from its target, on an unprecedented spatial race at 60.000km/h around the solar system. On November 12th, the module Philae landed on its surface and it will remain there to study the story of the comet.
What was merely science-fiction a couple of years ago has become come true. A great team of scientists and engineers has spent a lot of years of their lives trying to push science beyond its current limits to write a new page on the history of planetary science. The biggest hunt of mankind, the search of the origin of the solar system, of our planet, of life itself, is about to become just a little clearer.
Video from Europa Press