Comet Quest: How the Rosetta mission created a new archaeological site in space

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


Archaeological sites where humans have carried out scientific activities beyond the Earth are not as rare as you might think. The planets nearest us—the Moon, Mars, and Venus—are littered with landers, rovers, probes, and craters where spacecraft have crashed on the surface. Further afield, spacecraft orbit the Sun, Saturn, and Jupiter. Others are roaming out at the edges: the Pioneers, Voyagers, and New Horizons. And in Earth orbit itself, there are millions of pieces of “space junk”, which far outnumber the active satellites providing us with telecommunications, navigation, Earth observation data, and timing signals. It’s a rich archaeological record and we have only just begun to investigate what it can tell us about 20th and 21st century life on Earth.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
Specialist publicationAnthropology News
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Space archaeology
  • Futures
  • Archaeology
  • Decoding comets
  • Outer Space
  • Rosetta
  • Rosetta spacecraft
  • Taphonomy


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