Rosetta spacecraft catches icy comet after 10-year journey

A European spacecraft has arrived at a comet more than 250 million miles away - bringing a 10-year journey across the solar system to an end.

Since launching in March 2004, Rosetta has travelled more than four billion miles across the asteroid belt and more than five times the Earth's distance from the Sun.

Rosetta has now entered orbit around the comet.

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Rosetta space mission 'historic and hugely exciting'

The decade-long Rosetta Mission, in which the spacecraft has chased a comet across space, is about to reach "an historic and hugely exciting moment," according to one of the scientists behind the project.

Professor Richard Holdaway, director of RAL Space at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxford, explained:

This is an historic and hugely exciting moment for the Rosetta Mission.

After 10 years of travel through space from Earth, Rosetta finally arrives at the comet and will land a unique shoe-box sized chemistry set designed and built by RAL Space and The Open University.

We are very proud of our involvement and eagerly anticipate receiving the first results.

– Professor Richard Holdaway

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