The name of the mission

The Rosetta mission, expected to land on a comet, was named after the Rosetta Stone, which allowed hieroglyphs to be deciphered.

In 1799, in the Egyptian city of Rosetta, archaeologists discovered a stone with writing on it in two languages (Egyptian and Greek), using three scripts (hieroglyphic, demotic and ancient Greek). In 1822, together with the inscriptions on an obelisk from the Temple of Philae, Jean François Champollion succeeded in deciphering the, until then, enigmatic hieroglyphs. With this knowledge, the thus far incomprehensible inscriptions were translated, and a bygone civilisation 'rediscovered'.

Cometary researchers expect to obtain similarly enlightening insights from the first thorough exploration of a comet by the Rosetta spacecraft with its lander, Philae. For the first time, a spacecraft not only flies by a comet, but also accompanies it as it approaches the Sun. In addition, also for the first time in history, a lander touched down on a comet and conducted experiments on site.

Last modified: 26/03/2015 12:42:10

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Dr Stephan Ulamec
German Aerospace Center (DLR)

Microgravity User Support Center (MUSC), Space Operations and Astronaut Training

Tel.: +49 2203 601-4567
Dr.rer.nat. Ekkehard Kührt
German Aerospace Center (DLR)

Institute of Planetary Research, Asteroids and Comets

Tel.: +49 30 67055-514

Fax: +49 30 67055-340
Elke Heinemann
Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR) - German Aerospace Center

Tel.: +49 2203 601-2867

Fax: +49 2203 601-3249

The Rosetta Stone

Der Stein von Rosetta

The Rosetta Stone is exhibited at the British Museum in London.

Inscriptions at Philae Temple complex

Inschriften am Tempelkomplex Philae

Inscriptions at Philae Temple complex south of the Egyptian city of Aswan.

The Temple of Philae

Der Tempel von Philae

The Temple of Philae on the Egyptian island of Agilkia.