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First landing on comet today

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Moderator
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 5140
The spacecraft has been launched 10 years ago, and today is the big day:

http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Rosetta

Exciting moment ...


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Moderator
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 5140
Amazing how the acceleration segments are calculated so precisely in order to "hit" that little comet after 10 years after several orbits around the sun:

http://sci.esa.int/where_is_rosetta/

(Zoom out with the mouse wheel to see Jupiter and the comet approaching. Drag the mouse to change the 3D perspective.)
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 479
Location: EFTO
To give an idea of the scale in the fantastic images sent from the comet, someone copied a 744(!) in. Amazing.

Cheers,
Martin
Moderator
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 5140
Now waiting for confirmation of separation ...

http://rosetta.esa.int/

... and ... yes! Applause :-)



I'm wondering if Torrence is there in that room :-)
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 479
Location: EFTO
The thruster which was supposed to counter the harpoon action (recoil) isn't working, but they went ahead anyway.
So, perhaps Bounce instead of Landing?

Very exciting...

(((M)))
Member
Registered: Oct 2014
Posts: 341
In the discussions so far I've not heard them talk about thruster failure. They're waiting for touchdown confirmation, and whether the harpoons worked.
Member
Registered: Oct 2014
Posts: 341
< 8 minutes to touchdown, then 30 mins delay before they'll see it in mission control. 8)
Member
Registered: Oct 2014
Posts: 341
Philea made it to the surface intact, but it is not anchored to the surface (the harpoons that were to be fired to anchor it, failed to do so). They are currently assessing the situation, and trying to determine if they need to re-attempt to anchor it to the surface.
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 944
They look bored in the control room, but there's not much they can do now anyway since the speed of light probably means it takes quite a few minutes for comms to be sent from the satellite and then for earth to send correctional instructions back. It's must be an automated landing, preprogrammed for various situations. The ultimate LAND3, CATIII situation!
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Best wishes,

Phil Bunch
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 944
As best I can follow various sites, the thing appears to have landed successfully. It takes 28 minutes for comms to reach the earth due to the limited speed of light and the distance to the comet.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-11-12/comet-chasing-rosetta-spacecraft-sends-lander-down.html

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1546749058874176.1073741836.1423532354529181&type=1&_fb_noscript=1

"Rosetta's lander Philae landed on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on 12 November 2014."
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Best wishes,

Phil Bunch
Member
Registered: Oct 2014
Posts: 341
From the live feed, the scientists weren't so definite. :(
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 944
This web page features an interesting tour of the control room. If you hover the cursor over each monitor and each chair, a popup describes the responsibilities in some detail of a specific manager or assistant manager for the project. It's interesting to read how they coordinate the instructions to actually be sent to the satellite. The software management and coordination must be very complex and yet requires freedom from bugs as well as the ability to adapt to unpredictable circumstances.

http://www.channel4.com/news/rosetta-space-landing-comet-control-room-esa-interactive

I can't imagine how stressful it would be to mostly just watch as the lander tries to hook up to the comet after a 10-year process of intercepting the comet. Somewhere in the background is a large team of scientists who would like to use their instrumentation and analyze many aspects of the comet.

I suppose the Cassini Project to photograph and analyze Jupiter and its moons would be a somewhat similar project, lasting many years and taking a small army to operate and maintain, and with a long lead time.

As best I can follow, it seems that the lander has harpooned the comet and they *seem* to think it will be able to stick in spite of not having a functioning thruster that was supposed to hold it against the comet. It may take some time to figure out what is really going on.

I just noticed that a USA cable TV channel, the "Science Channel", has an hour-long show on Rosetta. It's on tonight on Time-Warner Cable TV at 9pm (NYC time; US east coast). I suspect that there isn't much if any real-time imaging yet, so it will probably mostly be a review of its capabilities and purposes.
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Best wishes,

Phil Bunch
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 944
More info is given here, indicating that there are problems regarding the landing, especially with respect to getting the thing to anchor itself to the comet. Unless this can be accomplished, I suspect most of the most interesting tasks can't be attempted.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/space/11222612/Rosetta-comet-landing-as-it-happened.html

Excerpt:

"Rosetta probe has bounced away from landing site and lost contact, admit scientists. Although scientists celebrated landing probe Philae on comet this afternoon, the lander is not securely attached and has already bounced away from its landing site."

Also see:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/space/11227176/Rosetta-probe-has-bounced-away-from-landing-site-and-lost-contact-admit-scientists.html

------------------
I'm finding that it's unusually hard to find authoritative information about the probe. At the moment I suspect that the ESA spokesmen are necessarily holding back further updates until they can reassess and learn much more information than they have now about the probe's status and prospects. I read that the project's cost was 1.3 billion UK pounds.
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Best wishes,

Phil Bunch
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 418
Location: Australia
By the time you read this you will probably know that it landed successfully and is now sending pictures back. What an achievement!
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Garry

Website: flightsim.garryric.com
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 497
martin wrote
To give an idea of the scale in the fantastic images sent from the comet, someone copied a 744(!) in. Amazing.

Cheers,
Martin

Looks like KLM has opened a new route. Certainly gives new meaning to long haul!
Jeroen
Member
Registered: Oct 2014
Posts: 341
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2014/11/12/spacecraft-descent-comet/18900867/

I hope the solar panels provide enough power. :?
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 479
Location: EFTO
Moderator
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 5140
Does anybody know what weight on the comet corresponds to 1 kg on the Earth?

I can't imagine how one wants to shoot harpoons into the ground without those opposite thrusters -- or how to drill holes without being anchored.


Cheers,

|-|ardy
Member
Registered: Jun 2009
Posts: 275
Location: Potsdam, Germany
Moderator
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 2449
Location: KTMB
Escape velocity estimated at one meter per second ... You can jump into space off that rock!
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 202
Location: The Netherlands
Quote
"You can jump into space off that rock!"


Jeroen,

You are going definitely toooo often, to the Disney parks, with your daughter.... :D

Hessel
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 958
Location: Chicago
I've been following with great interest. Congrats to the ESA and all involved for what's already been accomplished. Hopefully they'll get plenty of good science out of the mission.

NPR reported today that the lander landed in a crevasse after it came back from the bounce, is on its side, and may only get 2 hours of sunshine per day instead of the expected 6-7.
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Will /Chicago /USA
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 479
Location: EFTO
Batteries went flat last night, but (which pleases me no end):

"In that time, the lander returned all of its housekeeping data, as well as science data from the targeted instruments, including ROLIS, COSAC, Ptolemy, SD2 and CONSERT. This completed the measurements planned for the final block of experiments on the surface. " (ESA)

Without that, it would perhaps have been somewhat sad, but as it is, one can only call it a splendid success, never mind the "surprises". After all, the thing could e.g. have drifted off into space again after the initial bounce.
(And who knows, the lander may even wake up again when reaching sunnier realms...)

Cheering,
Martin
Member
Registered: May 2009
Posts: 414
Location: Mumbai, India
There is this wonderful site ... NewsBiscuit.

http://www.newsbiscuit.com/2014/11/14/first-pictures-received-of-elated-boffins/

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