ESA’s Comet Rendezvous Mission, which has been selected as a Cornerstone mission of ESA’s long-term science program Horizon 2000.
The mission goal is a rendezvous with comet 46P/Wirtanen. On its eight-year journey to the comet, the spacecraft will fly by close to two asteroids. The spacecraft will map the comet’s surface in fine detail and land a package of instruments (the Rosetta Lander) to study some of the most primitive, un-processed material in the solar system. The mission will provide clues to the physical and chemical processes that marked the systems beginning 4.6 billion years ago.
Rosetta will be launched in January 2003 by an Ariane-5 from Kourou, French Guiana.