European Space Agency plans to land 12th November the module “Fila” Space Station “Rosetta” on the nucleus Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
This event was dedicated to the lecture “The experiment of the Millennium – the space mission “Rosetta” to the Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko”, which was read in Kyiv Planetarium by its director, the president of Ukrainian Society of Astronomy, corresponding member NASU, Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Professor Klim Churyumov. Together with Svetlana Gerasimenko he discovered at the Autumn 1969 the Comet, which was named after them.
Klim Ivanovich briefly told about the Comet in general, its discover, space station “Rosetta” and about preparation to the probe landing.
It was interesting to know, that the Comet discovery was happened not through the lenses of the telescope in the tower of mountain observatory, but analyzing the pictures taken before on month in Alma-Ata observatory. There were the image of unknown object on the six photo plates, which was identified as the Comet. They sent a report to the Central Bureau of Astronomical Telegrams (USA) and got the confirmations of the discovery.
The round about the Sun the Churyumov-Gerasimenko Comet lasts 6.57 year. Its orbit crosses orbits of Mars and Jupiter, but does not reach the Earth orbit. It cannot be seen without telescope. Its apparent magnitude is equal 1.2, while the human eye can see the object with the magnitude not less than 6.
The station “Rosetta” was launched in the April 2004. According the flight plan, it made several gravitational maneuvers in vicinity of Mars and Earth and reached the Comet orbit. From June 8, 2011 up to January 20, 2014 the station was in a “sleep” mode. Starting from August 2014 the station started to approach the Comet. The lector demonstrated the Comet pictures taken by the station from different ranges – from 1800 up to 20 km. The sizes of the nucleus are approximately 5x3x2 km. It rotates with a period 12.7 hours. On the analyses of the pictures taken by “Rosetta” the ECA specialists chose at first 6 acceptable landing places, then only two – the main and a spare one. Now the station moves in vicinity of the Comet nucleus with a speed 15 km/s. The distance to the Earth is 500 million kilometers. To reach the Earth radio waves need 28 second.
It was planned that November 12, 9:35 CET from the distance 22.5 km to the nucleus, the module “Fila” will start to move in nucleus direction and will reach it after 7 hours. The module will foothold on the surface with harpoons, force of gravity there is very small, and will start nucleus investigation. “Rosetta” will accompany the Comet until lose efficiency. Scientists hope, that the station will last until the perigee, which the Comet will reach August 13, 2015.
ESA plans to broadcast rendezvous with the Comet August 12 at the site: http://rosetta.esa.int. You can see it in our University.