Apr 06 2015

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Rosetta mission imperiled over the weekend

Scary times for Europe’s comet-chaser Rosetta. They were circling Chury at about 8.5 miles (14 km) above the surface when Rosetta plowed through the comet’s tail and it experienced far more turbulence than they thought it would. The tail caused enough drag on Rosetta that it threw the spacecraft off course. To make matters worse, Rosetta couldn’t tell stars apart from bits of debris and so it couldn’t use its internal navigation systems.

It eventually went into “safe” mode when its main communications dish began losing its connection with Earth. They’re now reconsidering ever sending Rosetta so close to the comet again. Apparently, Rosetta was thrown over 75 km off course.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/04/06/rosetta-mission-imperiled-over-the-weekend/

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