Home > Comet, Ephemeris Program, ESA, Rosetta > 07/15/2016 – Ephemeris – The end is near for ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft

07/15/2016 – Ephemeris – The end is near for ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft

August 15, 2016

Ephemeris for Monday, August 15th.  The Sun rises at 6:45.  It’ll be up for 14 hours and 1 minute, setting at 8:47.  The Moon, 3 days before full, will set at 4:49 tomorrow morning.

In a month and a half the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft will end its mission to comet 67/P Churyumov-Gerasimenko or just 67/P for short.  The end will come as the Rosetta spacecraft will make a slow crash onto the comet.  A week ago the spacecraft shut down its link to the Philae lander, which itself didn’t stick its landing and bounced three times and found itself between ice and a hard place with no way for the Sun to reach it to recharge its batteries, and so had an abbreviated science mission before the batteries failed.  The comet was closest to the Sun a year ago, and is heading back out to near the orbit of Jupiter.  Last time it was out this far Rosetta had just been woken up out of a three-year slumber.  This time though it will sleep forever after a job well done.

Times are for the Traverse City/Interlochen area of Michigan. They may be different for your location.

Addendum

Rosetta

An artist’s illustration of the European Space Agency’s comet-chasing Rosetta spacecraft. Credit: ESA – C. Carreau

Philae's resting place.

An image of the Philae lander superimposed on its panorama photographs where it was wedged between ice and a hard place in the shadows November 2014. Credit: ESA/Rosetta.

Comet 67P dust jets

Comet 67P and jets of dust, carried by sublimating ices. Credit: ESA/Rosetta

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