ESA's Rosetta mission was the first to rendezvous with a comet, the first to follow a comet on its orbit around the Sun, and the first to deploy a lander to a comet's surface.
Comets are time capsules containing primitive material left over from the epoch when the Sun and its planets formed. By studying the gas, dust and structure of the nucleus and organic materials associated with the comet, via both remote and in situ observations, the Rosetta mission is unlocking the history and evolution of our Solar System.
Rosetta is an ESA mission with contributions from its Member States and NASA. Rosetta’s Philae lander was provided by a consortium led by DLR, MPS, CNES and ASI.
Launch: 2 March 2004
1st Earth gravity assist: 4 March 2005
Mars gravity assist: 25 February 2007
2nd Earth gravity assist: 13 November 2007
Asteroid Steins flyby: 5 September 2008
3rd Earth gravity assist: 13 November 2009
Asteroid Lutetia flyby: 10 July 2010
Enter deep space hibernation: 8 June 2011
Exit deep space hibernation: 20 January 2014
Comet rendezvous manoeuvres: May - August 2014
Arrival at comet: 6 August 2014
Philae lander delivery: 12 November 2014
Closest approach to Sun: 13 August 2015
Mission end: 30 September 2016