Nothing is impossible. I say that without fear of contradiction because of what the European Space Agency and NASA have been doing for the last decade. It’s the Rosetta mission.
Rosetta’s job is to monitor a comet, 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, by placing an orbiter around it and a lander on it! It will do this as the comet races toward the inner Solar System.
As you might imagine, catching a comet isn’t easy. Rosetta was launched in 2004 and has made three Earth passes, plus one trip around Mars, all to gain speed and set-up its rendezvous.
To conserve power while coasting through space, Rosetta’s been ‘sleeping.’ Here’s how they list it on the mission timeline.
July 2011 Aphelion/Enter Hibernation
Aphelion means its furthest point from the Sun. Hibernation… you get that.
Today Rosetta gets its wake-up call! It needs to start processing data. It needs to prepare for its May meet-up with Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
This is another unbelievably complex and intricate engineering challenge that should be impossible. What could possibly be more difficult than this?
One thought on “Incredible Engineering: Rosetta Wakes Up”
This is so cool! I had forgotten about this, though I remember when it was launched. Looking forward to the next step.