ESA / CNES / ARIANESPACE - SERVICE OPTIQUE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ESA / CNES / ARIANESPACE - SERVICE OPTIQUE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Payload fairing being lowered onto the Rosetta spacecraft (black) in the Final Assembly Building at ESA's Guiana Space Centre. Rosetta was launched on 2nd March 2004 on a 10 year mission to study the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. It is the first mission designed to land on a comet. Rosetta, which rendezvoused with the comet on 6th August 2014, is carrying instruments to map the comet's surface and probe its core, as well as the Philae lander. Philae landed on the comet on 12th November 2014 and will perform detailed analysis of the comet's surface, giving an insight into conditions during the formation of the solar system some 4.6 billion years ago. Photographed on 18th February 2004.
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