The ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft is about 100km (62 miles) from comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko (thankfully reduced to Chury)
Chury was discovered by Klim Ivanovych Churyumov and Svetlana Ivanovna Gerasimenko on 11 September 1969 at the Alma-Ata Astrophysical Institute. Like all comets, the finders names are used to tag the comet (I just wonder why I have never seen a Smith or Jones comet, or for that fact any popular last names).
In about six weeks from now, the spacecraft will be at its closest to the comet.
After scanning the surface, Rosetta will drop the “Philae” landing module that will hopefully ride the comet as it passes closest to the Sun and deliver never before gathered cometary data.
Hopefully, the landing site won’t be over a potential vent that blows the lander off the comet.
I am almost giddy with geek excitement. Comets are so old they can tell us much about what went on in the early solar system. BTW, when I discover my first comet or planet, which ever comes first, you have my permission to call it “Normie”.
– Ex astris, scientia –
I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine. As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +