[SatNews] The National Space Society announces that the European Space Agency (ESA) Rosetta mission team is the winner of its 2015 Space Pioneer Award for science and engineering. NSS recognizes the achievements of the Rosetta team, which include the construction, launch and operation of the spacecraft. This award will be presented at the National Space Society's 2015 International Space Development Conference. This will be the 34th ISDC and will be held in Toronto, Canada, at the Hyatt Regency Toronto (downtown). The conference will run from May 20-24, 2015.
The Space Pioneer Award consists of a silvery pewter Moon globe cast by the Baker Art Foundry in Placerville, California, from a sculpture originally created by Don Davis, a space and astronomical artist. The globe, as shown on the right, which represents multiple space mission destinations and goals, sits freely on a brass support with a wooden base and brass plaque, which are created by Michael Hall's Studio Foundry of Driftwood, TX. NSS has several different categories under which the award is presented each year, starting in 1988.
The Rosetta Mission, underway for over a decade, has scored two historic science firsts: (1) the Rosetta spacecraft went into close orbit around a comet (67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko) on August 6, 2014, and (2) the Philae lander landed on the comet and provided data transmitted from its surface. The two vehicles have provided abundant data that will help characterize the geology and chemistry of the comet. Rosetta will also monitor the evolution of the phases of the comet during and past its perihelion. This will be the first time in human history that such details of a comet's behavior have been closely observed. The fact that the comet resembles a contact binary adds to the interest created by the amazing photographs the mission has provided, showing a wide variety of surface features. Mission Manager Fred Jansen and Project Scientist Matt Taylor head the great team of engineers and scientists who carried out this European Space Agency mission.
Rosetta is an ESA mission with contributions from its member states and NASA. Rosetta's Philae lander is provided by a consortium led by Deutschen Zentrums für Luft und Raumfahrt (German Center for Aeronautics and Space Research), Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung (Max-Planck Institute for Solar System Research), Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (National Center for Space Research) and Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (Italian Space Agency).