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Scientists prepare for historic meeting of space probe and comet after 10-year trek

Published on Aug 6, 2014 11:19 AM
A handout image released on July 31, 2014 by the European Space Agency (ESA) shows the nucleus of Rosetta's target comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko seen from a distance of 1950 km on July 29, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - European scientists are preparing for a historic rendezvous on Wednesday between a comet and a space probe after a 10-year, six billion-kilometre chase through the solar system.

The scout Rosetta is on track for meeting Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in deep space, when it will become the first envoy of man to orbit one of these wanderers of the solar system, they said.

If all goes well, the mission in November will carry out the first landing on a comet.

Rosetta will send a robot chemistry lab to the surface to delve into a theory that comets hold the key to understanding how our star system formed.

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