Health Canada Ruled In Breach Of Privacy Act

MarihuanaPrivacyAbove is a photo that’s making the rounds of a Facebook page maintained by an advocacy group for Canadians who use marijuana for medical purposes. In 2013, you might recall, Health Canada was in the process of changing regulations related to how people who were licensed to use marijuana for health reasons were able to access their medication.

The biggest change was that after April 1, 2014 licensees would no longer be able to grow their own medication but instead would have to purchase it from a grower licensed by Health Canada. The changeover hasn’t gone as smoothly as patients would have liked and, in fact, licensees under the old regulations are currently in litigation to have the new provisions declared unconstitutional for unjustly infringing on their health and well-being.

While all that was going on, Health Canada sent envelopes to the approximately 40,000 licensees in mid-November 2013 reminding them of their obligation under the new regulations to dispose of all their plants and existing medication by the April 1 deadline. In contrast to the usual steps Health Canada took to protect the privacy of the licensees’ health information (primarily by using unmarked envelopes delivered by courier) Health Canada elected to use the regular postal system and envelopes that clearly identified the recipients as participants in the medical marijuana program.

Health Canada claimed later that it was an administrative oversight. But licensees were understandably upset, both at the breach of their privacy, and the potential threat the letters posed to the safety and security of them and their families by publicly outing them as possessing marijuana. They regarded it as an attempt by Health Canada to intimidate them and cow them into complying with the new regulations.

A privacy complaint and class action lawsuit were subsequently initiated, and as the above image indicates, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has found that the plantiffs’ privacy rights were contravened by Health Canada. A Federal Court challenge is currently underway, and the privacy commissioner’s ruling should be a pretty powerful piece of evidence when the plaintiffs return to court in Vancouver in early May.

Dawn

VestaLaunched in 2007, the NASA spacecraft Dawn is scheduled to arrive at the dwarf planet Ceres in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter on March 6. You can read more about the spacecraft and its mission on the NASA website. But here’s a quick recap.

Following the launch, Dawn used a gravity-assist from Mars to arrive at the asteroid Vesta on July 16, 2011. It studied Vesta from orbit until Sept. 5, 2012 before departing for Ceres. Above is a photo taken by Dawn of Vesta’s south pole that shows the crater Rheasilvia (click to enlarge). Vesta is a spherical body with a diameter of 525 km. The crater, meanwhile, is 460 km wide and 13 km deep. So on an asteroid that small it’s a pretty major feature. Five per cent of all meteorites that have fallen on Earth, in fact, are thought to have originated from the collision that created the crater around a billion years ago.

Vesta is a rocky body, while Ceres, which has a diameter of around 950 km, is believed to have large quantities of ice. Upon arriving at the dwarf planet, Dawn will enter orbit and use its instrument array (a framing camera, visual and infrared spectrometer, and gamma ray and neutron detector) to search for elements such as oxygen, magnesium, aluminum, titanium, iron, potassium, uranium, and water.

Dawn’s already thrown NASA scientists a bit of a curve ball by detecting two puzzling bright spots situated side-by-side in a crater on Ceres. As the probe moves closer to the dwarf planet, it will be able to investigate the spots further and perhaps make other surprising discoveries.

Dawn will study Ceres until its hydrazine fuel supply is exhausted, and it will then become a permanent satellite of the dwarf planet.

Toronto Star Bungles HPV Vaccine Science Then Bungles Response To Criticism

I’m posting this because a long time ago I had a very frustrating conversation with some people I love dearly about HPV vaccination. I’m a fan of HPV vaccines. They aren’t. (Or, rather, they have “issues” with them.)

And recently the Toronto Star ran a piece about the dark side of HPV vaccine, Gardasil. Seemed a pretty hearty rebuttal of my position.

Except it turns out the Star didn’t do such a great job with their science reporting.

Yesterday (my time, it’s still today where you are), Canadaland ran a response to the piece that was written by Dr Jen Gunter, an OB/GYN and specialist in vulvovaginal disorders. She says the Star’s report is based mainly on anecdotes and their own misreading of Centers for Disease Control data.

This follows on two posts Gunter put up on her own blog (Toronto Star claims HPV vaccine unsafe. Science says the Toronto Star is wrong; and, Explaining Gardasil girls and HPV vaccine safety to the Toronto Star and Heather Mallick).

Gunter’s three-post take down of the Star’s reporting is pretty thorough and readable so I won’t summarize it all here. I will say though that considering all the coverage that vaccination has been getting in the news lately, and how the tide finally seems to be turning against all the anti-vaxxer misinformation, it seems a strange time for the Star to be so sloppy about its science coverage.

And while we’re on the subject of vaccination, I should take this opportunity to remind everyone about this piece Ashleigh Mattern wrote about how vaccines save lives. Because it was a fantastic piece and is worth reading now if you missed it the first time around. It was titled “Take The Damn Shot” and ran in the Feb 6 issue of this magazine from Saskatchewan I like called “the Prairie Dog“.

The Effects of Oil Development On Grasslands Songbirds

We did a cover story on this lecture by Jason Unruh in our Jan. 8 issue.

Unruh’s a M.Sc. candidate at the University of Regina, and he’s been studying the impact of oil exploration on wildlife in Saskatchewan’s dwindling grasslands habitat.

The free lecture is Wednesday, Jan. 21 at 7 p.m. at the Saskatchewan Science Centre. It’s being held as part of the Native Prairie Speaker Series.

A Roar Of Wings

Roar of WingsIn our Dec. 11 issue we did an article on a temporary exhibit at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum that’s timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the extinction of the passenger pigeon. The article included an interview with the RSM’s curator of human ecology Glenn Sutter who put the exhibit together.

As you’ll see if you read the article, the exhibit uses the example of the passenger pigeon (which was rendered extinct by hunting and habitat destruction as settlers flooded North America in the 19th century) as a springboard for a broader examination of extinction events.

In Earth’s history, there have been five mass extinctions, and because of exploding human activity in all corners of the globe, and resulting devastation that’s being wrought on plant and animal habitat, scientists believe we are in the midst of a sixth mass extinction.

In addition to the passenger pigeon, the exhibit contains information on dozens of other extinct or endangered species. The 32-foot tylosaur skeleton pictured above falls into the former category. It inhabited an inland sea in this area 70-90 million years ago.

A Roar of  Wings runs at the RSM into March.

Merry CHRISTmas

I appreciate the pagan origins of Christmas in celebrations our distant ancestors held to mark the winter solstice. Millennia ago, it must have been unimaginably difficult for them to cope with the short hours of daylight, long nights, frigid temperatures, frozen water supplies, lack of fresh food sources and other challenges. So props to them for developing crude astronomical calendars such as Stonehenge in England and Newgrange in Ireland (pictured) to chart the winter solstice, and for devising various rituals to articulate their hope for an end to winter and the eventual return of spring.

As for the modern incarnations of Christmas tied to Christianity and the secular tradition of frenzied gift-giving, it’s not really anything I’m into. Last night, though, while cueing up a concert video on YouTube to listen to while I did some writing, I did have an opportunity to check out the first 10 seconds of Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall’s Christmas message to the province.

I was expecting the usual sort of “peace on Earth, goodwill toward our fellow humans” type message. Instead, Wall opted for a hardcore Christian theme. Here’s how it started:

Seven hundred years before the first Christmas, one of many promises by Old Testament prophets was made about the coming of the Christ. “For unto us a child is born,” wrote Isaiah. “Unto us a Son is given. And the government shall be upon his shoulder. And his name shall be called Wonderful, Councilor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.

Couple that with prime minister Stephen Harper’s Christmas message where he urged Canadians to pray for Canadian military personnel who are currently waging war against ISIS militants in Iraq, and it was quite a double-dose Christian theology from our political leaders this holiday season.

Ironically, once Wall delivered his introductory remarks, in which he drew a pretty strong link between Christianity and the concept of government in a modern secular/multi-faith society, he did speak about the importance of peace. As for the West’s current campaign against ISIS, here’s a news flash: after this latest crusade is over, there still won’t be peace in the region.

Prayers won’t do much good either. Not when countries such as Canada and the U.S. provide unconditional military and political support for Israel as it continues to create new settlements in Palestinian held areas of the West Bank and Jerusalem. And not when we continue to prop up corrupt dictators in some countries in the region, and tear down others who displease us, creating ethnic and religious instability and power vacuums that radical groups such as ISIS are only too happy to fill — at the cost of tens of thousands of lives, and the displacement of millions more.

Really, the situation in the Middle East these days reminds me of South Africa in the 1970s and ’80s, where the apartheid regime would fund guerilla groups in frontline states such as Mozambique, Angola and Botswana to conduct terrorist operations. Not only did these South African-backed terrorists destabilize existing governments, they also sabotaged schools, hospitals, rail lines and other vital infrastructure, keeping residents of those countries in perpetual poverty and despair.

“Doing the Lord’s work” I believe it’s called in certain circles. And it’s hard to believe in 2015 that it’s still going on.

Adult Science Night

orion_spinelli_c1Every month or so the Saskatchewan Science Centre hosts a special adults-only event complete with a licensed bar and snacks. Typically, the evening is organized around a theme, and the one that’s happening at the centre tonight is no exception.

A Night With The Stars is the title, and as you can probably tell from the photo it in no way, shape or form involves Hollywood.

Rather, people who attend will have an opportunity to explore the winter night sky. You won’t even have to get bundled up and go outside to do it either, as you’ll be able to check out constellations such as Orion from the comfort of the centre’s digital planetarium.

The event gets going at 7 p.m., and admission is $10. For more information visit the Science Centre website.

An Index of Saskatchewan Fauna & Other Curiosities

Caitlin MullanThis exhibition arose out of a collaboration between Jennifer Matotek, Director/Curator at the Dunlop Art Gallery; and John Snell, Manager of Public Programs at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum.

What they did is offer Regina printmaker Caitlin Mullan, a founding member of the local collective Articulate Ink,  an opportunity to view art, artifacts and related “curiosities” from their respective permanent collections.

Using those objects as inspiration, Mullan then created two installations that explore their meaning and significance in relation to each other and the province where they were created/found.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a hand-printed field guide (cover image at left) that will assist people in viewing the work much like the field guide a naturalist might rely on while on a wilderness walk.

An Index of Saskatchewan Fauna & Other Curiosities will be on display at Central Library and the Royal Saskatchewan Museum until Jan. 15.

New Horizons

New_Horizons_-_Logo2_bigAfter being delayed a day because of gusty winds and a minor technical problem, Orion blasted into orbit this morning on its inaugural test flight. The flight is supposed to last for 4.5 hours, and if all goes well the spacecraft will splash down in the Pacific Ocean later today.

That’s not the only important space exploration event set to happen this weekend. On Saturday at around 8:30 p.m. Regina time the spacecraft New Horizons is supposed to emerge from hibernation. It was launched by NASA in 2006, and with gravity assists from Mars and Jupiter, it’s nearing the end stage of a seven-year journey to conduct a flyby of the dwarf planet Pluto at the outer edge of the solar system.

Similar to the Rosetta spacecraft that is currently studying the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, New Horizons has spent much of its journey in sleep mode to conserve energy. But with its July 2015 rendezvous with Pluto approaching, the craft is being revived so it can begin long-range study of Pluto and its companion moon Charon.

We’ll have more on the mission in the months to come. But for now, here’s a primer courtesy the Planetary Society website.

Chris Hadfield

Chris Hadfield AfricaTwo years ago at around this time Chris Hadfield was in Russia preparing to blast off into space on a Soyuz rocket to assume command of the International Space Station. He was the first Canadian to ever hold that post, and during his five month stay at the station he skilfully used social media, plus some okay musical chops, to captivate Canadians and other followers of the ISS program world-wide with his wit, charm and ability to convey the grandeur of space.

On Wednesday, Dec. 3 Hadfield will be in Regina to do a presentation of sorts where he will discuss his pre-astronaut early years growing up in Sarnia, his student years studying engineering and becoming a test pilot, along with his later adventures in space. In October, you might recall, I did an interview with CBC science journalist Bob McDonald about a book he published called Canadian Spacewalkers where he interviewed the three Canadian astronauts who have done space walks. Hadfield was one of those astronauts, along with Steve McLean and Dave Williams.

The audio-visual presentation will be held at Conexus Arts Centre beginning at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $42-$112, and more info can be found by visiting the CAC website.

Orion

Orion_with_ATV_SMAssuming the weather cooperates, NASA is planning to do a test flight of its new deep space vehicle Orion on Dec. 4. The vehicle (that’s an artist’s conception above) will launch from Cape Canaveral aboard a Delta IV heavy rocket, and will reach an altitude of 5800 kilometres during a 4.5 hour flight that will involve two orbits of Earth before the craft splashes down in the Pacific Ocean.

No astronauts will be aboard during the test flight. Instead, the craft will be auto-piloted. For comparison purposes, the International Space Station orbits Earth at 400 kilometres. So Orion will reach a much higher altitude, and during re-entry will be travelling at 20,000 k.p.h which will put a fair bit of stress on its heat shield (temps are expected to reach 2200 degrees C). The flight will test the heat shield, along with other operating systems.

Orion consists of a crew module and a service module. The former will provide living and work space for four astronauts, while the latter contains propulsion, power and life support. The craft is designed to support 21 days of active crew operations, and up to six months of static operation. That would occur once Orion had docked to a Deep Space Habitat. The DSH is still in the design phase, but it’s projected to be the size of the ISS, and will be used for missions of up to 500 days.

The first crewed mission aboard Orion isn’t expected to take place until 2021. In the future, the craft will be used in conjunction with the DSH to transport astronauts to the Moon, select asteroids, and ultimately Mars. There’s no time-line for any of that yet, but the test flight on Dec. 4 will be a key first step.

To learn more about the Orion mission visit NASA’s website.

Rosetta

Rosetta_NAVCAM_141026I’ve posted on the European Space Agency probe Rosetta before. It’s on a 10-year mission to rendezvous with and explore the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

Since arriving at the comet in August, Rosetta has been sending back all sorts of dramatic photographs like the one above that have scientists marveling over the diverse assortment of geological features on the 6.5 kilometre wide oblong body. Those features include boulders, craters and sand dunes.

Rosetta has already made several discoveries, including that the comet is a contact binary composed of two smaller chunks. The probe has also detected water vapour escaping from the comet’s surface. This is occurring because the comet is plummeting toward the Sun and gradually heating up.  It will reach its closest approach with the Sun in August 2015, then begin a long journey back to the outer reaches of the solar system.

As part of its survey mission, Rosetta has identified a spot on the comet where the robotic probe Philae will attempt to land on Nov. 12. If the probe is successful in harpooning itself to the comet, it will mark the first controlled touchdown on a comet. Once anchored, Philae will conduct more detailed study of the comet’s mineral composition and other physical properties.

You can read more on the mission in this Daily Mail report.

David Suzuki!

Suzuki
I made the coffee David Suzuki’s drinking! We’ll never wash the mug again.

A living Canadian legend dropped by Prairie Dog’s office this afternoon! David Suzuki is in town for the Blue Dot Tour, which goes tonight at seven at the Conexus Arts Centre. You can and should buy tickets here. Musical guests include Jim Cuddy, Greg Keelor and Royal Wood. It will be tons of fun. I won’t be there because I have to work. Sad face. Oh well, at least I got to meet Suzuki — and yeah, as you’d think, it was terrific spending half an hour chit-chatting with this titan of environmentalism. As anyone (well, anyone reasonable) would suspect, Suzuki is a warm, intelligent and charismatic person. If you ever have the chance to meet him, take it.

Suzuki, me, Darrol Hofmeister and designer Awesome Klassen talked about climate change and climate change denial, politics, science, science education, the Apollo program, urban sprawl and urban wildlife, and fun stuff like that (well, it was fun for us). At one point, Suzuki brought up Tommy Douglas as an example of Saskatchewan’s progressive history, and I had to break the news that a lot of people here hate “Tommy The Commie” — and in general, we’re now a less progressive province than Alberta.

I think it’s fair to say Suzuki was baffled. He thought we’d all be proud of our history. He’s right. We should be.

The Blue Dot Tour

Earth_Eastern_HemisphereAbove is a composite image of our home planet as compiled by NASA from various satellite and International Space Station images. From orbit, Earth is anything but a “blue dot”. But the further you travel from the planet (as many mechanical probes have done over the last five decades) the smaller and more isolated our home becomes in the broader context of the solar system, the Milky Way Galaxy and the universe itself.

That’s the message that renowned environmentalist David Suzuki will deliver Monday Oct. 27 when his cross-Canada tour stops at Conexus Arts Centre. The “Blue Dot” tour title references a 1994 book by astronomer Carl Sagan (Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future In Space) that was itself inspired by a photograph of Earth taken by the Voyager I spacecraft in 1990 when it was six billion kilometres away and nearing the boundary of our solar system.

The Voyager image provided a graphic reminder of how insignificant our reality on this planet is in comparison to the immensity of space and how precious Earth is as a refuge for us in an impossibly harsh and unforgiving universe.

Throughout his tour, which is designed to promote the idea of enshrining the right to a clean environment into the Canadian Constitution, Suzuki has been accompanied by assorted Canadian entertainers and other “friends”. In Regina, he’ll be joined by Greg Keelor and Jim Cuddy of Blue Rodeo, along with singer-songwriter Royal Wood. The event will start at 7 p.m. on Monday, and tickets are $22-$127.

Ignite!

IgniteTo celebrate its 25th anniversary, plus commemorate the spirit of experimentation, innovation and invention that lies at the core of its mandate, the Saskatchewan Science Centre is hosting a two-day science fair on Friday, Oct. 10 and Saturday, Oct. 11.

Earlier this year, the Science Centre put out a call to all actual and aspiring inventors and other creative types to take part in the fair and display their latest creation. I’m not sure how many students and adults responded, but I’m sure the fair was a hot topic in science and engineering classes at the elementary, high school and university level.

You can see what everyone came up with on Friday and Saturday during normal Science Centre hours. For more information visit the Science Centre website or call 306-791-7924.

Set Your Alarm Clocks

Lunar EclipseThis is the view from Scarth & 12th looking east at around 7 p.m. tonight (click to enlarge). The yellowish-white blob in the middle is the newly risen full moon. Seven or so hours from now Reginans will have an opportunity to see it in total eclipse. You can read more in this CBC report.

In Regina, the Earth’s shadow will start to intrude on the lunar disc around 2:15 a.m. When the eclipse is total around 4:15 a.m. the moon will be a vibrant red. The CBC report also notes that the Draconid meteor shower is happening tonight too. When the moon is in eclipse, it will be easier to observe. So keep an eye out.

Luther Lecture

Luther Lecture (Moe-Lobeda, Cynthia)Now that the academic year is in full swing at the University of Regina there’s a regular diet of lectures and other special events to look forward to. Luther College has been hosting this lecture since 1977. Some of the speakers who have graced the podium in that time include Northrop Frye, Helen Caldicott and John Ralston Saul.

On Monday, Sept. 22 Seattle University professor Cynthia Moe-Lobeda (pictured) will add her name to the Luther Lecture roster. According to her bio, Moe-Lobeda has lectured/consulted in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and many parts of North America on such topics as theology, ethics, climate justice, environmental racism, globalization, moral agency, and eco-feminist theology.

The title of her talk in Regina is “Climate Justice: Love as Ecological-Economic Vocation”. Again, the lecture goes Monday at Luther College Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. For more information call 306-585-5034.

Maven, Mangalyaan & Mars

MarsI don’t want to jinx anybody as the probes have yet to arrive, and while the success rate has been pretty good in the last decade or so, we still have a so-so track record when it comes to missions to Mars, but in the next month two probes are scheduled to complete their long journeys from Earth and arrive at the Red Planet.

The first, which is nicknamed Mangalyaan, was launched by the Indian Space Research Organization on Nov. 5, 2013, and is scheduled to arrive on Sept. 14. The second probe goes by the acronym Maven (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN). It was launched by NASA on Nov. 18, 2013, and will begin its final approach to Mars on Sept. 21.

According to this mid-August article in Discovery both probes are on track for successful arrivals at Mars and have passed different tests to ensure their instrument packages are fully functional.

Apparently, Mangalyaan has limited instrumentation, so it won’t be conducting a massive study of Mars. Instead, the mission is more to showcase India’s expertise in spacecraft construction and mission operations, with some capacity to study the Martian surface, mineralogy and atmosphere.

Maven’s scientific mission will focus on possible causes for the loss of atmosphere and water on the Red Planet. Geological studies have revealed that the planet was once much wetter than it is today, and that it also had a much denser atmosphere. But over millions of years, those properties, which are pretty much indispensable to life as we understand it, were lost. Any answers that scientists find will help us understand better the evolutionary processes that planets undergo and their impacts on climate and atmospheric viability.

Cannabis Becoming A Wedge Issue In Canadian Politics

CannabisIIThe B.C. Court of Appeal delivered an important ruling yesterday when it found that restrictions placed on the manner in which medical cannabis can be used were unconstitutional. The case dates back to 2009, and concerns a man charged with trafficking after he produced marijuana cookies and topical cannabis creams for a medical marijuana club in Victoria.

The case predates the coming into force of the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations in April, but the ruling would seem to be applicable to it as well. That’s because under MMPR patients who receive a prescription from a doctor to use cannabis are limited to purchasing dried cannabis.

Research done by medical cannabis advocates, though, has shown that smoking dried cannabis isn’t the only way to obtain medical benefits. Rather, edible products, creams, tinctures and other cannabis off-shoots can also provide patients with relief. Indeed, in some instances, depending on the patient’s circumstances, they provide superior results to simply smoking or vaporizing the herb.

By a 2-1 majority the justices who heard the case, which resulted in charges being dismissed against the man, gave the federal government one year to amend the regulations to permit the consumption of other cannabis products beyond dried cannabis.

Whether the Harper government will comply is another matter. Heading into the October 2015 election, the Conservatives seem determined to use marijuana (be it for medical or recreational use) as a wedge issue to inflame their base. In recent months several Conservative MPs have distributed bullshit brochures in their ridings warning that Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, who has come out in favour of legalizing marijuana and regulating it like alcohol and cigarettes, wants to make marijuana available to children.

Of course, Trudeau’s position, which is also largely supported by the federal NDP, would do no such thing. Instead, by decriminalizing marijuana and developing a regulatory framework, the black market for marijuana would dry up, organized crime would be deprived of a lucrative cash cow, billions in police, court, and prison costs would be saved, and hundreds of thousands of Canadians would no longer be subjected to criminal sanction for doing something that is already legal in two American states: Colorado and Washington.

In the U.S., an additional 20 states permit the use of cannabis for medical purposes. Here in Harperland, though, Veteran Affairs announced recently that it was considering capping the benefits it provides to veterans who use cannabis for relief of pain, PTSD and other combat-related conditions. As well, Health Canada has apparently approached three doctors groups (the Canadian Medical Association, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the College of Family Physicians of Canada) to enlist their aid in an anti-marijuana advertising campaign that would have obvious partisan political overtones and would compromise the integrity of the above-noted organizations.

Given that integrity is largely an unknown concept to the Harper government, that’s not surprising. Instead, the Conservatives seem determined to put ideology ahead of the health and well-being of tens of thousands of Canadians who currently use cannabis for medical purposes, and pursue an asinine “tough on drugs/crime” policy that has proven to be a disastrous failure in the United States and the rest of the Western world.

Rosetta Update

Comet_on_14_July_2014_fullwidthI blogged about the Rosetta spacecraft in January after scientists at the European Space Agency successfully revived it after most on-board systems had been shut down and it went into hibernation on its long journey to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Rosetta is now just days away from arriving at the comet, where it will conduct a detailed 17-month study which will include dispatching a probe called Philae to land on the comet’s surface.

At least, that was the plan. But in mid-July, photographs from Rosetta revealed that 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was a contact binary (low resolution image above). What that means is that the comet, which is four km in diameter, is actually composed of two separate chunks. The news caught scientists by surprise, the BBC reported in mid-July,  and while it won’t scuttle the mission, it will necessitate some further analysis to get a handle on the comet’s gravitational field to ensure nothing goes wrong with Rosetta and Philae’s missions.

Rosetta had previously detected water vapour coming from the comet. That discovery was made in late June when the comet was 3.9 AU from the Sun. Launched in 2004, Rosetta will complete its 10-year journey when it arrives at 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on Aug. 6. By that point, the comet will be even closer to the Sun and will be outgassing even more as it heats up and that will be studied by Rosetta as well.