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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 spacecraft 'will try to land robot on comet'

In November, Rosetta will deploy a small robotic lander, Philae, which will steer itself onto the comet's surface before sending back images and data on the object's composition.

Image taken on 3 August from a distance of about 300km from comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM

Over the next two weeks it will remain the same distance from the comet, before edging closer until it settles just 18.6 miles (30 km) above the surface.

The Rosetta spacecraft woke from three years in hibernation in January this year. Credit: REUTERS/ESA/NASA/Handout

A primary initial goal will be to search for a suitable landing site for Philae, using Rosetta's Osiris (Optical, Spectroscopic, and Infrared Remote Imaging System) twin cameras.

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