Spacecraft is close to a comet – level 3

13-08-2014 07:00

After a decade-long mission, a European spacecraft has arrived at a comet more than 250 million miles away.

The Rosetta spacecraft launched in March 2004 and since then has traveled more than 4 billion miles across the asteroid belt and more than five times the Earth’s distance from the Sun.

And now, as the 10-year journey across the solar system comes to an end, Rosetta has entered orbit around the comet.

“Well, today’s the end a 10-year journey through the solar system. We’ve been bouncing around between the Earth and Mars to try to get our orbit right to get out to this completely insane object which we now know is out there, 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, the wildest comet, I think, anybody’s ever seen. So, today we arrive. We’re there 100 kilometres away. If you like, today is the beginning of the real science mission because now we can start actually measuring things, really analysing this comet, finding out what its history is, where it’s been in the solar system, what it’s made of. Can we open up this treasure chest and find out some answers to the birth of the solar system, the origin of water on the planet and even origin of life itself?”

Scientists at the European Space Agency are now on a tight schedule to learn enough about the comet using data from Rosetta to safely land the spacecraft’s probe on it in November.

Difficult words: decade (ten years), asteroid belt (a giant circle of rocks in our solar system), orbit (to fly in circles around something), insane (very exciting), wildest (very exciting), treasure chest (the comet can give many interesting facts and answers), origin (where something or someone came from), probe (unmanned spacecraft which explores).


Are you a teacher? Download the exercises for your class here. They are for free. You can copy them and use them in your class.

What do you think about this news?


News in Levels is designed to teach you 3000 words in English. Please follow the instructions

How to improve your English with News in Levels: 


  1. Do the test at Test Languages.
  2. Go to your level. Go to Level 1 if you know 1-1000 words. Go to Level 2 if you know 1000-2000 words. Go to Level 3 if you know 2000-3000 words.


  1. Read two news articles every day.
  2. Read the news articles from the day before and check if you remember all new words.


  1. Listen to the news from today and read the text at the same time.
  2. Listen to the news from today without reading the text.


  1. Answer the question under today’s news and write the answer in the comments.


  1. Choose one person from the Skype section.
  2. Talk with this person. You can answer questions from Speak in Levels.


Stock images by Depositphotos