Earlier today, the European Space Agency announced its upcoming mission that will try to take images of a comet as it enters our solar system for the first time.
Named ‘Comet Interceptor’, the mission consists of three separate spacecrafts which will sperate as the interceptor approaches a comet. Afterwards, these spacecrafts will take images of the comet from multiple directions. This will ultimately allow the spacecrafts to create a 3D model of a comet for studying here in Earth. According to ESA, the upcoming mission will create a ‘dynamically new’ object that contains unprocessed material surviving from the dawn of the Solar System.
This information will ultimately lead to further inside into the formation and changes of a comet as they travel towards the center of the solar system. The space agency also revealed that the upcoming mission is part of its fast-class mission which means the technology will be developed in a relatively short period of time. According the announcement ESA is planning on launching the Interceptor later in 2028.
“The huge scientific achievements of Giotto and Rosetta – our legacy missions to comets – are unrivalled, but now it is time to build upon their successes and visit a pristine comet, or be ready for the next ‘Oumuamua-like interstellar object.,” the agency wrote.