European Space Agency ESA Comet Interceptor Interstellar Object
The European Space Agency’s Comet Interceptor has been approved for construction and is set to hitch a ride into space with ESA’s Ariel exoplanet mission in 2029. This mission will build upon Rosetta and Giotto, which both visited ‘short-period’ comets, and carefully detail a comet that has spent little time in the inner Solar System, or may be even visiting it for the first time.

One potential target unlike any other that previous missions have visited is an ‘interstellar interloper’ from outside the Solar System, similar to ‘Oumuamua that mysteriously flew by Sun in 2017. If a success, this kind of object could offer the chance to explore how comet-like bodies form and evolve in other star systems. Comet Interceptor consists of a main spacecraft and two probes, the latter of which will surround the comet to observe it from multiple angles. We’ll most certainly be able to capture much better images than NASA’s Hubble did of comet NEOWISE.

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European Space Agency ESA Comet Interceptor Interstellar Object

The adoption of Comet Interceptor builds upon the breakthroughs of our visionary Giotto and Rosetta missions, accelerating us towards next-level comet science. It will keep European scientists at the forefront of cometary research and position ESA as a leader in this exciting field,” said Günther Hasinger, ESA’s Director of Science.

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