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Join the Rosetta Mission!

Fujiko Nakaya's Fog Bridge, Piers 15-17
Fujiko Nakaya's Fog Bridge, Piers 15-17
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

If you can't get enough of finding out about our fabulous universe, join the Exploratorium, Pier 15, on Thursday, August 14th in the Phyllis C. Wattis Webcast Studio at 7 PM. Rosetta is moving closer minute by minute to the nucleus of the comet 67P/ Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The Rosetta Space Probe, was launched by ESA (the European Space Agency) ten years ago and has traveled more than 4 billion miles to reach its destination. Now, at only 200 kilometers (124 miles) from the comet's nucleus it is showing the spin-axis orientation, angular velocity, landmarks, and other basic characteristics of the comet.

When Rosetta is close enough, within 25-30 kilometers (about 19 miles) of the nucleus, it will join the comet's orbit, and its speed will slow to a few centimeters per second. Once in orbit, Rosetta will map the nucleus in minute detail, identifying as many as 5 possible sites for its lander. This is an essential step in preparing for the landing of Philae, Rosetta's lander, scheduled in November of this year, to touch down, obtain more data, and to observe the comet even closer.

The comet was first observed on photographic plates in 1969 by Klim Ivanovich Churyumov and Svetlana Ivanova Gerasimenko and consequently was named after them. It will come closest to the sun in its 6.45 year orbit on August 13, 2015. Its rotation is about 12.7 hours...a pretty fast day/ night cycle.

Don't miss this opportunity to watch this live broadcast of the Rosetta Space Probe and the comet it has been chasing, and finally catching!

Tickets for the event are the price of admission to the museum: $15.00 for Non-Members, $10.00 for Members, and Free for Lab Members. This is an 'adults only' event, 18 years and older, please.