By recently announcing their achievements, British engineers are set to begin work on a spacecraft tracking comets, which will also map one of the three-dimensional celestial objects. According to sources, Thales Alenia Space, with three sites in the UK, won the contract for the design and construction of the mother ship. The contract is from the European Space Agency and costs around 150 million euros (182 million dollars). It is related to the company’s Comet Interceptor mission.
The purpose of the mission is to unlock the secrets of the early evolution of the solar system. Scientists aim to find answers to questions such as how water reached Earth. According to sources, they want to do this by studying “clean” comets on their first approach to the Sun.
Reports indicate that the mission will most likely target a comet traveling from the Oort Cloud, which is a band of frozen debris, about halfway between the Sun and the nearest other star. According to scientists, the mission “will not only contribute to our understanding of the evolution of comets, but will help unlock the mysteries of the universe.”
As we know, comets are the remnants of the formation of planetary systems. They are very similar to the Earth’s solar system about 4.6 billion years ago. They are made of ice, dust and rock and emit gas as they approach the Sun, creating a visible “tail”.
The comet’s interceptor will remain parked in orbit, possibly for years, until it takes over the target comet. It will then be set to a course to intercept the object carrying out the two probes built by the Japanese agency. They will then make close passes to the comet’s core and transmit the beam data back to the main boat.