how to drill a comet
While Planetary Resources is busy scoping out asteroids, the European Space Agency’s Rosetta probe is on its way to comet 67P/Churyumov– Gerasimenko. Arriving in May, it will dispatch its unmanned Philae lander to drill into the surface and cling for dear life as the comet slingshots around the back of the Sun, disintegrating in the heat as it goes.
Its task is to work out what chemical compounds are present at the centre of a comet. We know they contain organic molecules rich in carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen that serve as the building blocks for life, but it’s hoped Rosetta’s data could either confirm or disprove the Big Bang theory.