The Rosetta spacecraft was a European Space Agency (ESA) mission that was launched in 2004 to study Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. It is named after the Rosetta Stone, an ancient Egyptian artifact that helped decipher hieroglyphics. The mission was designed to provide insights into the formation and evolution of the solar system, as comets are considered to be remnants from the early stages of the solar system.
The Rosetta spacecraft traveled for ten years to reach the comet, during which time it used Earth’s gravity to gain speed and adjust its trajectory. It arrived at the comet in 2014 and spent two years studying it up close, including deploying a lander called Philae to the surface.
During its mission, Rosetta made many discoveries about Comet 67P, including determining its shape, composition, and the structure of its surface. It also detected organic molecules on the comet, which are the building blocks of life, providing insight into the possibility of life on other planets.
The Rosetta spacecraft ended its mission in September 2016 by deliberately crashing into the comet’s surface, providing data until the very end. The mission is considered a major success and has significantly advanced our understanding of comets and the formation of the solar system.
How was it built and how does it actually work? With a cast of experts and eye-popping CGI, we’re looking under the celestial hood to tell the greatest story of all — the story of where we and everything else came from.