Rosetta Spacecraft Awakened From Deep Slumber

Space probe prepares final phase of its mission to land instruments onto speeding comet.
3:00 | 01/20/14

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Transcript for Rosetta Spacecraft Awakened From Deep Slumber
This is a special group. I'm Dan -- new -- this ABC news digital special report and alarm clock. 500 million miles from earth just woke up -- spacecraft that's been hibernation for two years. European Space Agency is hoping the -- -- -- probe is now ready for the final mission final stage of its mission. To put -- robotic Lander on a comment later this year -- -- In fact that has ever been attempted before the BBC's Rebecca morale has more on -- effort to wake up that space probe. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- And thinks is its target -- 67 he hails from the -- of the soda system. A giant massive ice and rock -- three space. For the last two and a half -- -- it's been in deep space -- the nation with its instruments shut down to save an -- for the final phase of its mission. Right now raise FK is more than 800 many incumbents has a -- for math. Festival and in tunnel along Coca is off triggering heated -- who warmer. The croft then stop spending by firing is -- is. Once it's stabilized -- eases its navigational instruments to -- death and goals towards six. I need that -- is send this message back -- -- -- -- -- Those ride home this particular stage of the mission being success we have to get control back of the satellite so that we can -- it. Two. -- on its journey to actually rendezvous with the common. Recession -- to catch up with the -- later -- TH. Then comes the most paradise stage dropping an armed elements of the comet as -- traveling to incredible speeds. It will have to (%expletive) -- down onto the ice he -- face and it doesn't fly else. Nothing like thinks his and that being attempted the full. Comments -- the timetable capsule from the raced off to this latest estimate of four point six billion used guy. May contain a -- -- a -- -- and organic material that that was bad for the planet school. Understanding comets could -- says some of the biggest questions in science. If -- to comport itself it could shed light on how well permits came to be. And even held lifestyle hit -- -- Rebecca morale bikinis. So for more on what this could mean for the future of scientific discovery I want to bring in director of rice university's space institute David Alexander. In Houston David thanks -- -- us today. -- closest approach it good to Steve good to see you as well so Rosetta. -- now. Are all systems working. -- seems to be its history overwhelmingly the key thing was to get that signal back. And they'll start analyzing the engineering data and make sure everything's. What you were supposed to you have to warmup have to be in our nation where where is Rosetta relation to the plants. Well this album it's in the its authority and it oh million kilometers away which is a little bit further than Jupiter is from the -- That's -- -- -- a hundred million is that we've from the Arabs suicide there -- he. The -- on -- as a as a slight inclination. So it's essentially stolen identity. And what we called -- -- to -- weather climates are a little bit for the Oakland in Jupiter. So this was launched ten years ago it's been -- hibernation for a couple of years now what is the likelihood that and everything is still functioning. The way that it should be. I think it's very very lightly because this has declined since the beginning so it did very well -- -- this cruise -- if you -- his flight costs of the earth together doctors. And to -- as far as Jupiter. And but you -- know I mean it could be hit by a nice to meet you right and so on -- -- -- test the systems but it was designed specifically for this purpose so. I think everything looks good night -- the got a signal limiting contact with -- even some small problems they can they can fix remotely. Well why fact that have to be shut down to begin -- Was justice a long time for us spacecraft to be generating power and running systems so India as a -- -- way to interpret is also consenting to fuel. That it uses for its trust us because it's going to have a lot maneuvering to -- to meet up with the comment. And to -- wanted to orbit the common eventually and then meet its funding so it's just a matter of -- concerning the fuel on board. Not using it when it doesn't need to be used. Extra mile and how exactly. Do you -- an object on a comment on a moving object. Very carefully com. And it wasn't so that the key thing there -- there's the karma is moving very quickly missiles and space -- be so it's almost. -- -- -- USC's action movies really jump from one car to the other. It's a little bit -- whether they'll be alongside -- of the going to draw the slander from about one kilometer but no BS soft landing. So they have to -- -- to decide it's for a while first lieutenant suitable landing sites. Combat bolts -- you don't want large rocks around or large chunks of ice and you don't want to. The to be mostly rubble. And then it was just us -- remember the gravity this is stood at the massive piece asteroids at least Comas a -- -- small. Salute that'd be a lie and to do it didn't -- the lawsuit that it won't hit the ground. Will be -- walking case hopefully out. -- get enough -- -- -- for human offer and Sarah and -- and how big are these targeted comments. But this once it was small town it's it's a chick let -- shaped comet over the rounded bought them this is about it. Three kilometers. 54 -- the terms. -- -- not quite round -- small so the small island. And who and what exactly can we glean from that once -- that once it is landed on that comment. Well this does two things issue an exciting about this mission one of course is the landing welcome back to them -- second and the other is that. The orbiter they actually spacecraft will be following. The -- as it comes in towards -- on for about eight years well actually CE. It interacts with the solar radiation and and turn into a coma that we know which is that it games. And then the last there -- go under will be able to tell us more about the composition of the comet. The structure -- and and so on and that the kind of elements that make up -- surface. This is very important because we we believe that on the comments were responsible for instance bringing water to the heiress to the -- -- And the media organics as well that some people have argued that -- -- When they originated has opened an organic compounds to -- -- to that ultimately became -- so it's very important. These comments are untouched if it effectively since they were formed. Right to the beginning -- missile systems so that that's what's called it was at this the wrong it's visitors -- the mission after the recess to slowness of many. Crucial aspect of what the distribution of -- was like in the video -- stages of the solar system. Eyes and and then what's the -- has asserted to get back and information -- it stay that on that comment. Yeah they'll be transplanting this information up to the overtook for retransmission back to via. And then the potential life -- the program how long is that it is that expected. What is -- so it's so don't do -- vehicle to get to the asteroid let's keep -- sort of sort of acute spoke to get to that comment. By November of this year. And stuck the landing process and then the -- -- fall with rebellious determination. It's the end of 2050 -- and -- -- -- -- going to make me keep it running for a little bit longer but for now it's making sure that is up and running and operational. Exciting to on this Saturday. Yeah and that's fine just a few months to go forward it is going to be closing in on the on the Coleman and developing an exciting time are -- -- -- David Alexander director -- universities face as it to David thanks so much appreciate it lets you get back your work there. Of course the only recap right here on ABC news dot conference on Dan -- New York with a CBC news digital special report.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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