With the historic Rosetta mission now firmly in the rear view mirror, the European Space Agency has set its sights on a different kind of comet, that is, a comet that’s never visited the inner reaches of the solar system.
Called Comet Interceptor, the mission will include a mothership and two 'daughter' spacecraft.
A press release issued this week by the ESA describes the new Comet Interceptor mission, which is scheduled for launch in 2028.
Such objects, dubbed “pristine comets” or “dynamically new comets” feature unperturbed surfaces and structure, having avoided a close encounter with the Sun for billions of years.
Comet Interceptor will involve scientists and engineers from University College London, Edinburgh University, NASA and JAXA, among other contributors.
Now that the mission has been given the go-ahead, the various teams will work together to iron out the details.