This Day in Tech History

On This Day . . .

How ‘bout we chase down a comet…

Rosetta_and_Philae_at_comet_3Remember back 10 years ago when the European Space Agency launched the Rosetta space probe? It would take a decade to catch and orbit comet 67P? Well today, Philae, Rosetta’s lander, successfully touched down on comet 67P. From Rosetta’s tweet:

ESA Rosetta Mission @ESA_Rosetta Well done my friend! RT @Philae2014: Touchdown! My new address: 67P! #CometLanding

It looks like Philae touched down almost perfectly except for an unplanned bounce… doink! The harpoons that were supposed to anchor the lander did not deploy properly. Fortunately, there was a redundant system that literally screwed the landers legs into the comet. Initial data from the spacecraft showed that it landed, lifted off again, turned and landed again coming to a rest…whew! With Rosetta in its orbit Philae with ride the comet as it races past the sun becoming more active as it warms up.

strange15 Somehow the image of Philae riding 67P reminds me of that weird screenshot from Dr. Strangelove See previous blog:

This Day in Tech History

Rosetta_orbits_comet_with_lander_on_its_surface

How about we chase down a comet for 10 years and over 6 billion kilometers, orbit it and then land on it!

OK

On August 6 of this year, the Rosetta space probe finally caught up with Comet 67P / Churyumov–Gerasimenko.

Rosetta Rosetta Spacecraft

Rosetta will accompany the comet around the Sun and as it moves back out towards the orbit of Jupiter. The lander, Philae, will land on the comet’s surface in November of 2014. Oh yeah, not only did we catch this thing but we’re going to land on it. Well more like harpoon the lander to it.

Rosetta was launched on March 2, 2004 from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana by the ESA (European Space Agency). To gain speed and momentum, the space craft passed Earth three times and Mars once on its quest to catch comet 67P/C-G.

Mars from Rosetta Mars from Rosetta

The spacecraft has already performed two…

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