Philae, the Rosetta mission’s lander, will hunt for such clues when it touches down and analyses the composition of its target comet in 2014.
Drilling below the surface will allow Philae to reach the pristine materials inside the comet, where they will have been altered much less by solar radiation.
Philae’s drill ready for action
So, from 24 to 30 September, the Rosetta Science Operations and Navigation Centre at the Toulouse Space Centre put the drill through its paces.
On course for comet rendezvous
Rosetta’s OSIRIS camera is set to record the event and take pictures of the Earth-Moon system.
After the flyby, Rosetta will continue its journey toward the asteroid belt where it will pass within 800 km of asteroid Steins on 5 September 2008, before returning to Earth for a final gravity assist in November 2009.
How interplanetary trajectories work
Rosetta orbiter trajectory
Rosetta - CNES space scientific missions
Rosetta on ESA website