The International Rosetta Mission was approved in November 1993 by ESA's Science Programme Committee as the Planetary Cornerstone Mission in ESA's long-term space science programme. The prime scientific objective of the Rosetta mission is to study the origin of comets, the relationship between cometary and interstellar material and its implications with regard to the origin of the Solar System.
The mission goal was a rendezvous with comet 46 P/Wirtanen. Unfortunately problems with the Ariane 5 launcher resulted in a postponement of the mission, as the tight launch window was missed.
During the ESA SPC meeting on 13-14th May 2003 it was decided to re-target Rosetta to Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
Rosetta will study the nucleus of a comet and its environment in great detail for a period of up to two years, with far-observation activities leading ultimately to close observation (from about one km distance) and in situ analysis of the nucleus material by a lander (RoLand).
Instruments for satellite
Cometary Secondary Ion Mass Analyzer (COSIMA)
Rosetta Lander (RoLand)
launch: March 2, 2004 (Ariane 5 G+)
arrival at target: November 2014
end of mission: t.b.d.