Space Probe Will Soon Land on Comet - Update

Space Probe Will Soon Land on Comet - Update

rosetta comet

Rosetta probe's Philae lander is on its final approach to its target comet's surface.

Update: While Rosetta and its Philae lander have successfully contacted the comet, the probe and the ESA are not quite out of the woods.

The Planetary Society's Emily Lakdawalla is tweeting from the ESA control room, and her reports indicate that Philae isn't securely embedded into the comet. After landing on Comet 67p, Philae was supposed to fire anchoring harpoons into the surface of the rock. Those harpoons did not fire after landing, nor is the hold-down thruster working.

While mission control is still figuring out these issues, and how to deal with stability going forward, the good news is the scientific instrument suite appears to be green across the board. Data is coming back from the comet, which is definitely a win.

In related news, the Space Foundation has issued an official high-five to the ESA, praising the Euro space programs involved for "achieving yet another milestone during this ambitious mission."

Original Story: The ESA space-probe Rosetta is nearing the conclusion of its decade-long mission to track and land a probe on the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko: Rosetta has deployed its lander, Philae, for descent to the comet's surface.

Rosetta was launched in 2004, and needed to orbit the Earth a total of three times in order to attain speeds necessary to catch up to and align orbits with Comet 67p. The probe has been in a kind of pseudo-hibernation for much of its journey in order to preserve power (it generates electricity from solar power, but would've been out of range of the sun for much of the mission) but "awoke" last January as it began its approach toward the comet.

If Philae successfully makes permanent contact with the surface of its target (not guaranteed, as the craft reportedly has issues with it's thruster system) it will be the first spacecraft ever to land successfully on a comet - though NASA purposefully crashed a probe into one in 2005 in order to examine the celestial body's core. Scientist's believe that study of comets will allow them to observe "ingredients with which the solar system formed," among other data.

The ESA is keeping a live account of the process running at their official site and via the Philae Lander's Twitter account.

Source: ESA, Verge

Devin Connors contributed to this report.

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Don't let Q out.

Oh, it still hurts.

I don't wanna close my aaaaaaaiyes-

Oh sorry, it's not that kind of space mission. Resume obeying the laws of physics, everyone.

Fuck this is tense

XKCD has a comic that is updating live as the landing gets closer. Check it out here.

Now this is the sort of story that should be right on the Front Page.

And I don't care that the Escapist is a "gaming site". This is world history. The first soft landing on a comet is right up there with putting the first artificial satellite in orbit, or putting the first man on the moon.

You should have a direct stream to the actual event, not just a small piece in the "News Column".

If anyone has the Science channel, they're airing it live at 9pm eastern. :O

Live stream from ESA here: http://rosetta.esa.int/

Good thing. Now we just need to figure out how to bring back ice, and we're one step closer to solving global warming once and for all.

ONCE AND FOR ALL !

Holy hell they actually managed it! I'm completely in awe of the planning and dedication necessary for this project.

Philae has landed! The harpoons have been fired, the landing gear retracted and we (Earthlings all!) have just landed a washing machine-sized chunk of tech on a comet that's been whizzing around for four and a half billion years...

Man, I fricking love science!

In before Philae lander wakes up hibernating Reaper disguised as a comet. *reinforces pillow fort with duct tape*

Amazing job nevertheless, can't imagine how many sleepless hours and nerves have been poured into this project.

It made it, BTW. Landed and reporting back.

Fuck yeah, it landed! Great job, ESA.

Surprised that no one has posted this yet, so let me just...

image

Shamanic Rhythm:
I don't wanna close my aaaaaaaiyes-

Oh sorry, it's not that kind of space mission. Resume obeying the laws of physics, everyone.

Never let physics halt an awesome soundtrack!

Never the less, this is just awesome.

For the record, the harpoons have deployed and we've successfully tethered a hunk of refined earth-rock to a small-ish ball of ice orbiting our sun.

MrFalconfly:
Now this is the sort of story that should be right on the Front Page.

And I don't care that the Escapist is a "gaming site". This is world history. The first soft landing on a comet is right up there with putting the first artificial satellite in orbit, or putting the first man on the moon.

You should have a direct stream to the actual event, not just a small piece in the "News Column".

I second this, make this a main article!

OT: Congratulations on ESA on pulling this off, as an Aussie it's always good to see other nations pull feats like this off :-)

RicoADF:

MrFalconfly:
Now this is the sort of story that should be right on the Front Page.

And I don't care that the Escapist is a "gaming site". This is world history. The first soft landing on a comet is right up there with putting the first artificial satellite in orbit, or putting the first man on the moon.

You should have a direct stream to the actual event, not just a small piece in the "News Column".

I second this, make this a main article!

OT: Congratulations on ESA on pulling this off, as an Aussie it's always good to see other nations pull feats like this off :-)

It's even more impressive once you consider how many nations have contributed to the mission (according to wikipedia: Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdoms all worked on parts of the Philae lander alone). I don't even want to think about how much work it must have been to co-ordinate all those teams.

Subatomic:

It's even more impressive once you consider how many nations have contributed to the mission (according to wikipedia: Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdoms all worked on parts of the Philae lander alone). I don't even want to think about how much work it must have been to co-ordinate all those teams.

I see the ESA as an example of what the future Earth Alliance/whatever it's called ends up as.

 

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