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Late Heavy Bombardment

Five Questions Scientists Hope Rosetta Answers About Comets

Comet 67P as seen from the ESA Rosetta spacecraft

By David Harker, Associate Research Scientist, UCSD Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences (CASS)

The primary mission of Rosetta's visit to comet 67P/Churymov–Gerasimenko is to further our understanding of the origin and evolution of our solar system. Comets can be thought of as time capsules since they formed within 100,000 years of the formation of the solar nebula, which is thought to be tens of millions of years older than the formation of the solar system 4.7 billion years ago.