The nucleus of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
The nucleus of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

In 2004, The European Space Agency launched a spacecraft called Rosetta, which, after roaming the solar system for more than 10 years, matched the orbit of a comet named 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Once there, it could orbit around the small icy body, map its weird shape in great detail, and find out what it is made of. Rosetta’s instruments then studied changes in the comet as it got closer to the Sun and thus got warmer and more active.

The mission has been a remarkable success. The only major disappointment was that, rather than sticking to and drilling into the comet’s surface, its lander bounced off and finally came to rest on its side in a place where its solar panels could get little sunlight.

Some of the thousands of pictures taken by Rosetta’s cameras and some of the principal scientific results will be presented at a lecture, “Rosetta’s Remarkable Visit to a Comet,”  by space physicist Marcia Neugebauer at the Arizona Senior Academy, starting at 3:30 p.m. Thursday {June 2).

The speaker is an adjunct research scientist at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory and participated in the exploration of Halley’s comet in 1986.

Written by Marcia Neugebauer, Academy Village Volunteer

More Info on attending an event
Academy Village is an active-adult community located off Old Spanish Trail six miles southeast of Saguaro National Park East. Its residents support the Arizona Senior Academy, a non-profit charitable organization whose mission includes offering free concerts and lectures to the public.

These events are held in the Great Room of The ASA Building adjacent to the Academy Village Community Center. Due to the popularity of cultural events, non-residents who wish to ensure priority seating are advised to make reservations by email at or by phone at (520) 647-0980. To learn more about the Academy, go to

Parking for visitors is in the lot behind the Community Center. All parking spaces in front of the Academy building are reserved.

Up Close and Personal With a Comet: June 2016
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