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Rosetta comet mission awakens from hibernation
Posted: Tue, Jan 21, 2014, 6:57 AM ET (1157 GMT)
Rosetta spacecraft illustration (ESA) The European Space Agency's Rosetta mission contacted Earth on Monday, ending a period of hibernation that lasted more than two and a half years. Spacecraft controllers received a signal from the spacecraft at 1:18 pm EST (1818 GMT) Monday, several hours after a timer on the spacecraft turned on spacecraft systems that had been inactive for 31 months. The signal arrived nearly an hour later than the earliest possible time, causing some nervous moments in mission control, but ESA said the spacecraft is in good health. ESA launched Rosetta on 2004 on a mission to rendezvous with the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Rosetta will arrive at the vicinity of the comet in August, and deploy a small spacecraft, named Philae, to land on the comet's nucleus in November.
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