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Rosetta prepares for Philae probe landing


Posted on Tuesday, 11 November, 2014 | Comment icon 209 comments

Rosetta is preparing to deploy the Philae lander. Image Credit: CC BY-3.0 DLR
ESA officials have reported that everything is on schedule for the probe's attempted landing tomorrow.
The European Space Agency's Rosetta probe made history back in August when it became the first ever spacecraft to orbit a comet.

Now its companion, Philae, is preparing for its descent on to the comet's surface, a maneuver accompanied by a great deal of risk. For it to work Rosetta must head on a specific path and release the probe at exactly the right time for it to hit its target.

If the calculations are not absolutely spot on then Philae will crash.
"The point of separation is fixed in time, in space, velocity and attitude; and we have to reach exactly that point," said ESA flight director Andrea Accomazzo. "So, wherever Rosetta is, we have to design a maneuver to reach that point."

If the landing is successful Philae will deploy foot screws and harpoons to anchor it to the ground.

"It will take a few minutes to really analyse and fully understand that, yes, we are landed; yes, the harpoons are fired and safely anchored," said Stephan Ulamec of the German space agency.

If the probe survives then it will represent a significant success story in the history of space exploration and we should soon be looking at the first ever images from the surface of a comet.

Source: BBC News | Comments (209)

Tags: Rosetta, Comet, Philae

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #200 Posted by Zero Fox FK on 19 November, 2014, 15:32
I'm no Scientist... but that's Alien Life Confirmed, right?
Comment icon #201 Posted by Merc14 on 19 November, 2014, 15:40
Some more news and a short explanation of organic compounds http://www.extremete...e-shutting-down I'm no Scientist... but that's Alien Life Confirmed, right? No, it isn't. There are lot's of kinds of organic compounds, some that are very simple and some that are very complex and these complex types are the buidling blocks of life as we know it but not life itself. The hypothesis is that comets deliver complex organic compounds to planets thus providing the building blocks for life. Panspermia takes this one step further and suggests that comets, asteroids, meteors etc. deliver actual living o... [More]
Comment icon #202 Posted by bison on 19 November, 2014, 17:13
So it's somewhere between Mars & Jupiter then? Comet 67P C-G is currently about 273 million miles from the Sun. That's roughly midway between the orbits of Jupiter and Mars, slightly closer to the latter.
Comment icon #203 Posted by theotherguy on 19 November, 2014, 18:46
It is thought that most comets come from the hypothetical Oort cloud that surrounds our solar system at 50k+AUs. That's at least 50,000 astronomical units from the sun, where 1 AU is the distance from the sun to Earth, right? That's something like four and a half trillion miles, using round numbers. Just making sure I get my definitions right.
Comment icon #204 Posted by Karasu on 19 November, 2014, 19:48
Panspermia: in otherwords comets, and meteors imprgenated our solar system. Damn universe, you're a stone cold freak!
Comment icon #205 Posted by Merc14 on 19 November, 2014, 22:40
That's at least 50,000 astronomical units from the sun, where 1 AU is the distance from the sun to Earth, right? That's something like four and a half trillion miles, using round numbers. Just making sure I get my definitions right. Yes that would be pretty close but the Oort cloud has never been seen, only theorized. Short and sweet article on the Oort cloud and why the icy bodies in it sometimes get sent towards the inner planets.http://www.solarviews.com/eng/oort.htm
Comment icon #206 Posted by seeder on 19 November, 2014, 22:48
Just how far away is this thing? It's been going for like 10 years isn't it, they say, so where is it exactly? (or roughly'll do.) Here's What a Comet 317 Million Miles Away Looks Like to a Landing Spacecrafthttp://www.space.com/27750-rosetta-comet-landing-photo.html
Comment icon #207 Posted by Merc14 on 20 November, 2014, 14:11
Just how far away is this thing? It's been going for like 10 years isn't it, they say, so where is it exactly? (or roughly'll do.) Right now Rosetta is about 317 million miles away heading for the inner solar system at nearlly 30K MPH but has traveled nearly 4 billion miles to get there using gravity assists toi attain the speed of the comet. There is a pretty good show on TV right now (NPR) called To catch a comet that does a great job of explaining the mission and how it got to 67P.
Comment icon #208 Posted by toast on 20 November, 2014, 18:35
SESAME experiment CASSE records sound of first landing A short but significant 'thud' was heard by the Cometary Acoustic Surface Sounding Experiment (CASSE) as Philae made its first touchdown on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The two-second recording from space is the very first of the contact between a man-made object with a comet upon landing Listen here: http://www.dlr.de/dlr/presse/en/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-10172/213_read-12221/year-all/#/gallery/17248
Comment icon #209 Posted by Jacques Terreur on 20 November, 2014, 19:55
"dear fellow universe inhabitants, we have pictures and audio of a man-made object touching down on a small rock 500 million kilometers away. What has your civilization achieved today?"


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