August 6, 2014 9:30 am
Updated: August 6, 2014 9:49 am

Rosetta space probe set to catch up with comet after 10 year chase

WATCH: With the Rosetta probe arriving at its destination, scientists hope that the information they collect will help them learn more about the origins of comets, stars and planets.

DARMSTADT, Germany – A mission to land the first space probe on a comet reaches a major milestone when the unmanned Rosetta spacecraft finally catches up with its quarry on Wednesday.

It’s a hotly anticipated rendezvous: Rosetta flew into space more than a decade ago and had to perform a series of complex manoeuvrs to gain enough speed to chase down comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on its orbit around the sun.

The European Space Agency says Rosetta will spend about two years travelling alongside 67P and closely observing the comet. If all goes according to plan the probe will also drop a small landing craft onto the comet’s icy surface in November.

Scientists hope the mission will reveal more about the origins of comets and other celestial bodies.

Animation of Comet 67/P

ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA
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