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Waspie_Dwarf

Rosetta Wakes Up

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The European Space Agency have just received a signal from Rosetta confirming that it has successfully emerged from its long hibernation.

I will post more details when they become available.

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ESA’s ‘sleeping beauty’ wakes up from deep space hibernation

20 January 2014 It was a fairy-tale ending to a tense chapter in the story of the Rosetta space mission this evening as ESA heard from its distant spacecraft for the first time in 31 months.

Rosetta is chasing down Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, where it will become the first space mission to rendezvous with a comet, the first to attempt a landing on a comet’s surface, and the first to follow a comet as it swings around the Sun.

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Rosetta calls home

Video highlight showing receipt of signal from ESA's Rosetta comet chaser after 31 months of deep-space hibernation. Teams at ESA's operations centre in Darmstadt, Germany, leapt for joy as the signal was confirmed via NASA's 70m tracking stations in California and Australia.

Credit: ESA

Source: ESA - Space in Videos

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Yay. That would have been a bummer if she stayed asleep.

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High-Fives all the way around. That would have been awkward if it was doa.

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Back in the late 80's I had the priveledge to work with some very smart people who were planning Mars missions. I have a small sense of what a huge accomplishment this is. Congratulations all around and very well done.

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I'm surprised any man made material can survive in the freeze for that long. Let alone any delicate electronics.

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There is no way to tell how large the comet was originally, but it sure seems like after several billion years it would have "evaporated" long ago with every pass near the sun. I realize it's not a sun grazer and is pretty far out in space at it's closest but it must loose some material with each pass.

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I'm surprised any man made material can survive in the freeze for that long. Let alone any delicate electronics.

Although the spacecraft was in hibernation, with all it's scientific instruments switched off and no communications with Earth for 31 months, it's computer periodically commanded heaters to warm the electronic to prevent them freezing.

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but it sure seems like after several billion years it would have "evaporated" long ago with every pass near the sun.

You seem to be making two assumptions here:

  1. the comet is made up totally of volatile material
  2. the comet has been in an orbit close to the sun for billions of years.

Both these assumptions are wrong.

Whilst comets contain a large amount of volatile material some of these "dirty snowballs" are more dirt than snow. In fact 6% of Near Earth asteroids are believed to be extinct comets, so a substantial amount of material can remain even after the volatiles have boiled off.

Secondly Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko has not been in it's current orbit for long. In fact it's current orbit only dates back to February 1959 when Jupiter changed it's perihelion distance from 2.7 AU to it's present 1.3 AU. Prior to an encounter with Jupiter in 1840 it's perihelion distance was greater than 4 AU, which is too distant for volatiles to boil off.

So rather than millions of encounters with the Sun over billion years, Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko has only had a few encounters with the Sun close enough to boil off the volatile material in the last 174 years.

Edited by Waspie_Dwarf
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Rosetta's destination is a comet that is thought to be 4.6 billion years old and comes from a time before the Earth even existed and the sun was in its infancy.

I can't even fathom something older than Planet Earth other than the Universe itself.

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I can't even fathom something older than Planet Earth other than the Universe itself.

You see something older the the Earth every clear day... the Sun.

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I hope this is able to land on the comet and not crash in to it

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I can't even fathom something older than Planet Earth other than the Universe itself.

I find it rough to think about any of it. Whether the vast reaches of the universe or the insane amount of time that has been and will be.

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I hope this is able to land on the comet and not crash in to it

Rosetta itself can't land, but it carries a smaller lander called Philae which can.

The video in THIS POST shows how the landing will occur.

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You see something older the the Earth every clear day... the Sun.

Good point forgot about that

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I find it so amazing that we/humans took our 1st flight in 1902 & here we are 112 years later & we are landing spacecraft on asteroids & doing all kinds of neat stuff in space, I mean we went from the 1st flight to landing on the moon in just 67 years, I just think that is amazing, just imagine what It will be like in the upcoming future at the rate technology is advancing, hard to even imagine what will happen in the near future of space travel.

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