Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, carrying the lander of the European Space Agency (ESA), is set to approach the perihelion, the closest area to the sun that the comet can reach. The event, which will take place on Thursday, Aug. 13, is said to provide the scientific community with new information about the possible origins of life on Earth and other space-related discoveries.

When the comet reaches its closest point near the sun, experts are hopeful that its icy crusts will be scraped off and cascade particles that have been attached to it since the birth of the solar system some 4.6 billion years ago. The Rosetta spacecraft of Europe will then orbit nearby, gather all the clues it can and hopefully unravel more information about how the universe or the star system came to exist.

Comets are composed of particles from the ancient solar system that developed around the sun millions of years ago. When a comet becomes situated near the sun, it will create streams of gas, dust and sublimated ice that produce a coma or atmosphere that has a marvelous tail, which can run for millions of miles. If the said event happens near the Earth, an astounding view may be seen.

How can Earth-bound people watch this unique mission? Because the event will happen far from the planet, people can only observe it using a telescope.

The ESA and the Slooh Community Observatory will be broadcasting the event live for Earthlings to watch. The said webcast started on Saturday, Aug. 8 and will run until the mission is completed.

The ESA will utilize the Optical Ground Station telescope, which is situated on Mount Teide, from the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands. This telescope is the largest one that the ESA owns, the Slooh officials said. Through this modern and high-technology equipment, people may have a good chance of viewing the comet as it approaches the blazing sun.

The European lab named Philae landed on Comet 67P in November 2014. Rosetta, its mother ship, has been orbiting close by since then. Both the Philae and Rosetta are tasked to investigate the components of the comet and send back the findings to Earth. The transmission of data back to the planet will take approximately weeks or months due to the significantly long distance between.

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