ESAs Rosetta will be the first mission to orbit and land on a comet, one of the icy bodies that travel throughout the Solar System and develop a characteristic tail when they approach the Sun. Rosetta is scheduled to be launched on-board an Ariane-5 rocket in January 2003 from Kourou, French Guiana. A decision on the launch date will be taken by Tuesday 14 January (see Arianespace press release N° 03/02 of 7 January 2003 or at http:www.arianespace.com).
The mission’s target is Comet Wirtanen and the encounter will occur in 2011. Rosetta’s name comes from the famous Rosetta stone, that almost 200 years ago led to the deciphering of Egyptian hieroglyphics. In a similar way, scientists hope that the Rosetta spacecraft will unlock the mysteries of the Solar System.
Comets are very interesting objects for scientists, since their composition reflects how the Solar System was when it was very young and still unfinished, more than 4600 million years ago. Comets have not changed much since then. By orbiting Comet Wirtanen and landing on it, Rosetta will collect essential information to understand the origin and evolution of our Solar System. It will also help discover whether comets contributed to the beginnings of life on Earth. In fact comets are carriers of complex organic molecules, that - delivered to Earth through impacts – perhaps played a role in the origin of living forms. Furthermore, volatile light elements carried by comets may have also played an important role in forming the Earth’s oceans and atmopshere.
Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy
24.03.2017 | University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core
24.03.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
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27.03.2017 | Life Sciences
27.03.2017 | Life Sciences