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After a decade-long journey , the European Spacecraft Rosetta finally made history by becoming the first ever space vehicle to orbit and land on a comet. The robotic space probe, Rosetta was the initiative of the European Space Agency (ESA). The spacecraft embarked on its journey on 2 March 2004 and reached its destination, Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on 6 August 2014. The spacecraft comprises the Rosetta orbiter carrying 12 instruments and Philae lander carrying 9 additional instruments. The European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany is controlling the spacecraft.

On 12 November 2014, the Rosetta detached the Philae lander which soft-landed after initially bouncing twice. The Philae became the first ever lander to make a touchdown on the surface of a comet.
The Philae’s mission is to determine the molecular and mineralogical composition of the comet, physical properties of the surface material and the structure and magnetic environment of its nucleus.

En route to the comet, the Rosetta flew by two asteroids: 2867 Steins on 5 September 2008 and also 21 Lutetia on 10 July 2010. From June 2011 to 19 January 2014, the spacecraft was into a hibernation mode and woke up on 20 January 2014 just before approaching the comet. In 2007, the Rosetta also had a Mars swing-by, which allowed the spacecraft to gain energy by exploiting the gravitational energy of the planet The ESA's spacecraft will help scientists to probe deeper into the evolution of the solar system and life on Earth. .

The spacecraft has been named after Rosetta Stone which is a stele (stone slab with figures or inscriptions) of Egyptian origin. The lander Philae has been named after the Philae obelisk ( a pyramid-like monument) that has Egyptian and Greek hieroglyphic inscriptions.

As per the latest reports, Rosetta spacecraft has discovered water vapor emanating from the comet. The water vapor on the targeted comet is said to be way different from what is seen on Earth. This has sparked debate on the source of the earth’s ocean.

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