Comet-bound probe Rosetta wakes up and tweets 'Hello, world!"

2:32 PM, Jan 20, 2014   |    comments
This image by the European Space Agency shows an artist's impression of the Rosetta orbiter.
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(USA TODAY) -- The hibernating European space probe Rosetta that will rendezvous with a comet more than 500 million miles from Earth this summer woke up Monday after two years asleep to tweet: "Hello, world!"

It then tweeted the same message in many languages, from "Hallo, welt!" to "Ciao, mondo!" to "Ahoj svet!"

"My antennas started tingling a few hours ago with all the shouting and wonderful #wakeuprosetta messages. Thank you!" Rosetta reported.

As if anxious to make up for lost time, the chatty probe kept up the outerspace patter: "I tried to remember some European languages... I'd love to hear how you say "Hello world" in your language!

The tweets signaled that the spacecraft, which was in sleep mode to preserve power, is getting set for the big meet-up with Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in August.

Rosetta was launched in 2004 on a 10-year journey to the comet. It is scheduled to go into orbit around the comet for more than a year and eventually place a small lander on the comet's surface.

The spacecraft carries the 220-pound lander called Philae. Only the probe's main computer and some heaters stayed on to keep it alive during its hibernation, European Space Agency officials said.


The probe is about 500 million miles from Earth, near Jupiter's orbit, and radio transmissions will take 45 minutes at the speed of light to reach listening stations in Australia and the United States.

The Rosetta spacecraft took about seven hours to warm up, operate its navigation gear and fire rocket thrusters to reposition itself.

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