An internal alarm will wake the
It will then chase 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko as it begins to move closer to the Sun, before harpooning the 2.5-mile wide frozen dirtball and trying to make a landing.
"It will be an amazing achievement for human endeavour, an 'Armageddon' type thing," he told the
"We're not just landing on the Moon, we're dealing with something dynamic, which is kicking off tonnes of dust and gas every minute."
The comet is travelling at 24,600mph - far faster than a space ship - so the ESA craft has spent the time since its launch using the gravitational pull of the Earth and Mars to act as a sling shot and allow it to accelerate.
"It flew almost 10 years in space and in the last two and a half years it was so far from the sun that we couldn't keep it completely active so we had to switch it off," said Dr
"We have no contact since two and a half years and on Monday we'll have the first signal since then."
It will arrive at 67P in August, where if all goes to plan, it will become the first spacecraft to orbit a comet and land a probe on its surface.
Comets are the primitive building blocks of the solar system, and are thought to have helped 'seed' Earth with water, and perhaps even life. Their icy surface is embedded with dust, grit and particles from space,
They are left over from a planet-building time when our sun was just a spinning disc of dust and gas.
By studying the comet's dust and gas,
"Over the millennia of the history of Earth, comets have actually affected our evolution, they probably have affected the evolution of life as well, from the start of life to the destruction of life," Dr Ferri said.
"There are many theories about comets hitting the earth and causing global catastrophes. So understanding comets is also important to see in the future what could be done to defend the earth from comets."
:: Watch the latest updates live on
Most Popular Stories
- India Recognizes Transgender People as 'Third Gender'
- Major Phone Makers Sign Anti-Phone-Theft Pledge
- 'Beige Book' Federal Reserve Survey, April 2014: Full Text
- Brands Get Caught in Bitter-Tweet Traps
- Michael Bloomberg Takes Aim at the NRA
- U.S. Job Market Still Needs Fed Stimulus: Yellen
- Dems in Energy States Back Away From Obama
- Depp, Pfister Are Tech Philosophers
- Man Arrested After Driving Stolen Car to Court Hearing
- U.S. Housing Starts up in March After Bitter Winter