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Spacecraft wakes up speaking as Gaeilge

THE comet-chasing spacecraft that had been 'asleep' for almost three years has sent one of its first messages as gaeilge.

'Dia dhaoibh uilig ar domhain!' – was the message that was released by the Rosetta spacecraft from 500 million miles away.

Back on earth, the European Space Agency (ESA) received the all-clear message "Hello World!" in more than 20 languages.

Rosetta was put to sleep to conserve power as it headed to regions as distant as the planet Jupiter, where the sun's weak rays provide only limited amounts of energy.

Scientists hope Rosetta will answer important questions about the origins of the Solar System and the way comets evolve and develop.

DRILL

The spacecraft, which was launched by the ESA from Kourou in French Guiana nearly 10 years ago, is on a historic mission to drop a lander on the icy surface of a comet.

One of its first tasks will be to search for a suitable landing site for the Philae lander which will drill samples from the ground for analysis.

Philae will also capture panoramic images of the view from the comet's surface.

Rosetta was put into hibernation 31 months ago.

This was to conserve energy for its long journey to meet comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

hnews@herald.ie


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