Every kid has asked 'Are we there yet?' in the car. It's hard to imagine how many times that question would be asked after 10 years and nearly 4 billion miles.
Now there is just a relatively short 12,000 miles to go a and it is expected to arrive August 6th. To commemorate the momentous milestone of reaching the comet, ESA is inviting you to take part in a photo contest celebrating journeys and arrivals. Up for grabs is the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be at ESA’s operations center in Germany in November, for the VIP event celebrating the first landing on a comet.
Destination: Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, taking shape as Rosetta gets closer, June 28 2014. Credits: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA
Two top winners will be chosen: one decided by a public vote and one by ESA judges. The judges will be looking for a photo that not only expresses the feeling of traveling and arriving at a destination, but also connects with the themes of the mission
They are encouraging photos that include a Rosetta mission science theme. For example, Rosetta will be trying to understand whether comets played a part in forming Earth’s oceans – so one theme is ‘water’. Water is essential to life, so you could use ‘life’ as an inspiration, too. Or, perhaps you will be encountering some comet-like terrains: a geyser or an interesting rock or ice formation might provide a unique backdrop to a ‘selfie’.
Want some props to include in your photo? You can download and build a paper Rosetta model (or even make your own), or print out a Rosetta banner to fill in and hold up to the camera to tell them where you’re going.
Rotating comet 67P/C-G, 27-28 June 2014. Credits: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA
There are multiple ways to enter. Through the ESA, their Facebook page or on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #AreWeThereYet. The competition is open now and will accept entries until 07:00 GMT (09:00 CEST) on 6 August. Within a few moments of Rosetta’s arrival at the comet being confirmed – expected around 09:45 GMT on 6 August – voting will be enabled and will continue until 14:00 GMT on 21 August, during which time anyone can vote on their favorite photos.
The USA also wants to send a spacecraft to a comet, this one manned, though no one is sure why. Regardless, President Bush's Constellation program, which was destined to return to the moon, was scrapped by President Obama and replaced with his own program, Orion.