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Rosetta flying past Earth 4 March 2005
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- Title Rosetta flying past Earth 4 March 2005
- Released 24/02/2004 3:37 pm
- Copyright European Space Agency, ESA
This animation was produced by the Mission Analysis Team at ESOC and shows Rosetta swinging by the Earth on 4 March 2005 in the first of a series of four gravity assists (three with Earth, one with Mars) that will occur throughout the 10-year transfer to the target comet.
During closest approach, at 22:10 GMT on 4 March, Rosetta will be flying at an altitude of 1956 km above the Pacific Ocean just west of Mexico at a velocity relative to the Earth of 38,000 kph. The image has been artificially brightened to better show the Earth, which would naturally be much darker as Rosetta is approaching from the night side. Also, the image of Rosetta itself has been rotated to enable a better view of Earth receding. In reality, Rosetta orients its solar arrays permanently north and south with respect to its orbit plane. The panels thus remain directed fully towards the Sun while the craft's main body can be rotated to any direction in a full circle.