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Photos: Europe's Rosetta Comet Mission in Pictures

Rosetta View of Earth from Space

ESA

The European Space Agency's comet chasing mission Rosetta took these infrared and visible images during its Earth fly-by in early March 2005 while on its way to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The images gave the Rosetta team a chance to calibrate its instruments on a real space object to make sure everything was in working order.

ESA Calls on Skywatchers to Track Rosetta Probe's Earth Flyby

ESA

An artist's illustration of Rosetta's Philae lander on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

Rosetta Launch in 2004

ESA/CNES/ARIANESPACE-Service Optique CSG

Rosetta successfully lifted off from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, at 04:17 local time (08:17 CET) on March 2, 2004

Ariane 5 Carrying Rosetta on the Pad

ESA/S. Corvaja

Rosetta was launched in 2004 and has since travelled around the sun five times, picking up energy from Earth and Mars to line it up with its final destination: comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.

Rosetta Tested in the LSS

ESA/A. Van der Geest

Rosetta was tested in the Large Space Simulator (LSS) at ESA/ESTEC. Rosetta was launched in 2004 and has since travelled around the sun five times, picking up energy from Earth and Mars to line it up with its final destination: comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. Image released Dec. 19, 2013.

Testing Rosetta's Solar Array

ESA/A. Van der Geest

Testing Rosetta's solar array, in the ESA/ESTEC Test Centre. Rosetta was launched in 2004 and has since travelled around the sun five times, picking up energy from Earth and Mars to line it up with its final destination: comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. Image released Dec. 19, 2013.

Rosetta Comet Spacecraft

ESA - C. Carreau

An artist's illustration of the European Space Agency's comet-chasing Rosetta spacecraft. Rosetta will explore Comet 67-P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko when it arrives at the object in August 2014.

Rosetta at Comet

ESA/ATG Medialab

Artist's impression of the Rosetta orbiter at comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The image is not to scale. The Rosetta spacecraft measures 105 feet (32 meters) across including the solar arrays, while the comet nucleus is thought to be about 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) wide. Image released Jan. 24, 2014.

U.S. Instruments Aboard Rosetta

NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI

Three of NASA's contributions to the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission are pictured here. An ultraviolet spectrometer called Alice (top) will analyze gases in the coma and tail and measure the comet's production rates of water and carbon monoxide and dioxide. It will provide information on the surface composition of the nucleus, and make a potentially key measurement of argon, which will be a big clue about what the temperature was in the primordial solar system when the comet's nucleus originally formed (more than 4.6 billion years ago). Image released Jan. 24, 2014.

Giant Antennas Supporting Rosetta

NASA/JPL-Caltech

These aerial photos show instruments at the NASA Deep Space Network complexes, including the giant 230-feet-wide (70-meter-wide) antenna at the Goldstone, California complex (left) and a similar antenna at Canberra, Australia.

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