Research in space is often a very patient process that has to start years in advance. Spacecraft need to be constructed and tested in cleanrooms and then have optimal conditions for launch to leave Earth. Once in space, there is a fair amount of time associated with travel to get to other planets or comets, or whatever else might be researched.
The Rosetta spacecraft was launched in 2004 with a very bold mission to research the comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Comets present some unique challenges, as they often have odd- shaped or changing orbits and may have varying gravity levels. Rosetta will not only orbit this comet– it will also send a lander to the comet’s surface.
Rosetta spent over ten years in development and has spent the last few years in hibernation as it made its way to the comet. Check out this amazing video that shows a bit about the Rosetta’s history, as well as its current mission: