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Rosetta deploys the Philae lander to comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. ESA/ATG medialab; Comet image: ESA/Rosetta/Navcam

The Rosetta lander detects organic matter: the seeds of life?

Scientists working with data sent back by the now-slumbering Philae lander have announced the discovery of organic molecules on the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Finding organic compounds on 67P’s surface…
Philae’s first panorama shows a 360 degree view around the point of final touchdown. Superimposed is a sketch of what the lander team believes is Philae’s configuration. ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA

Sleep now for Rosetta’s comet probe after a bouncy landing

The European Space Agency’s (ESA) pioneering Rosetta mission to land on a comet has been wildly successful, but now it appears that part of its aim, the exploration of the surface by the little Philae…
Jumping off a spacecraft. ESA/ATG medialab

Everything you need to know about cometary exploration

Exciting as it is (and it is incredibly exciting), the Rosetta mission is the latest in a history of comet exploration that has added to our knowledge of these icy dirtballs. Comets are usually just a…
Firing harpoons in space. ESA/ATG medialab

Explainer: why Rosetta comet mission is such a big deal

The first attempted landing on the surface of a comet is a huge landmark in the history of space exploration that will not only uncover further details about comets but could unlock further clues about…
Rosetta’s selfie with Comet 67P/Churuymov-Gerasimenko. ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA

The Rosetta spacecraft ready to send Philae towards its comet

The first ever attempt to land on a comet is set to be carried out by the European Space Agency (ESA) this Wednesday evening (AEDT). It is part of an exciting and highly successful space mission, which…
Artist’s impression of exocomets around Beta Pictoris. ESO/L. Calçada

Comet families similar to our own are found around another star

A detailed study of comets orbiting the young nearby star Beta Pictoris is published today in the journal Nature, and it reveals striking similarities to the comets found in our solar system. Over the…

Rosetta’s rendezvous with a comet

After a decade of travelling through space, and years before that of mission planning, the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Rosetta spacecraft is right on track to deliver a superb mission. Already it has…
Next, we wait for Philae lander to touch down on the comet. ESA–J. Huart

Relief as Rosetta wakes up, but still we hold our breath

Out of hibernation, Rosetta stirs at last. As one of the scientists involved in the mission, news that the unmanned spacecraft has woken up and restored contact with Earth comes as a great relief. It contains…
The ‘Comet of the Century’ had a violent encounter with the sun. NASA/Goddard/SOHO

Comet ISON fizzles … but there’s a sting in the tail

If there is one thing we know about comets, it is that their behaviour is really hard to predict and that they will always surprise us – and sometimes disappoint. Unfortunately it looks like comet ISON…

Comet ISON is in danger of disintegration

Comet ISON is in danger of disintegration according to new observational data conducted by the Group of Computational Physics…
Here I come, carrying seeds of life. skynoir

Building blocks of life could be formed on comets

No one knows how life began on Earth. But for it to happen, some simple chemical building blocks would have been needed. Many scientists argue the Earth’s violent past, with its massive volcanoes and regular…

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