Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko is the target of the ESA ROSETTA mission. This comet was selected because its orbit allowed its exploration by the European spacecraft for a launch scheduled in 2004 and an encounter in 2014. It was also of particular interest since it is thought that the comet has not a long history in the inner Solar System and therefore could contain primitive material kept at low temperature and far from the Sun since the formation of the Solar System.
It has been calculated that before 1840, the comet perihelion was about 4 AU and that successive dynamical interactions with Jupiter progressively shifted it to its current position.
Comet Churyumov–Gerasimenko is the first cometary nucleus so closely scrutinized by a spacecraft, for such a long period of time (about 2 years) and on which an automated module has landed.