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European space probe reaches comet after 10-year journey

August 06, 2014, 17:14 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Rosetta will follow the comet for more than a year to provide a detailed scientific study of the Solar System body
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© ESA / ROSETTA / MPS HANDOUT

MOSCOW, August 06. /ITAR-TASS/. After a ten-year journey across the solar system Europe's Rosetta spacecraft has become the first probe to approach a comet for close examination, the European Space Agency reported on Wednesday.

The European Space Agency's mission control centre broadcast live as Rosetta matched the speed of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and was put into its orbit at a distance of about 100 kilometers (62 miles).

"After 10 years, five months and four days travelling towards our destination, looping around the Sun five times and clocking up 6.4 billion kilometers, we are delighted to announce finally 'we are here'," Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA's Director General, said in a statement published on the agency's website.

Rosetta and Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, which was discovered in 1969 by Soviet astronomers Klim Churyumov and Svetlana Gerasimenko, now lie 405 million kilometres from Earth, about half way between the orbits of Jupiter and Mars, rushing towards the inner Solar System at nearly 55,000 kilometres per hour, the ESA said.

Rosetta will follow the comet for more than a year to provide a detailed scientific study of the Solar System body.

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