New day for comets

We’re suddenly very aware of comets. The spectacular Rosetta mission of the European Space Agency, launched way back in 2004, used three slingshot gravity assists from near-Earth fly-bys before it finally caught up to comet 67P this August while both were moving at 34,000 miles per hour. Orbiting the mountain-sized chunk of ice and dust, it has now dropped a lander onto its surface from a height of 14 miles.

A wild adventure! The minuscule gravity of the tiny 2.5-mile-wide comet was not enough to prevent the springy legs of . . .


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