Rosetta was launched in 2004 and has since travelled around the Sun five times, picking up energy from Earth and Mars to line it up with its final destination: comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. For the coldest, loneliest leg of the mission, as Rosetta travelled out towards the orbit of Jupiter, the spacecraft was put into deep-space hibernation.
In 2014, Rosetta will complete its cruise towards the comet, rendezvousing with it in August, before putting its Philae lander onto the comet’s surface in November, as it begins its journey closer to the Sun.
Rosetta will arrive at 67P in August 2014, where it will become the first spacecraft to orbit the nucleus of a comet and, later in the year, the first to land a probe – Philae – on a comet’s surface. It will also be the first mission to escort a comet as it journeys around the Sun.