Spacecraft landing on comet news update

This video says about itself:


7 August 2014

Please watch in 1080p

On August 3rd, the Rosetta spacecraft‘s narrow angle camera captured this stunning image of the nucleus of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. After 10 years and 6.5 billion kilometers of travel along gravity assist trajectories looping through interplanetary space, Rosetta had approached to within 285 kilometers of its target. The curious double-lobed shape of the nucleus is revealed in amazing detail at an image resolution of 5.3 meters per pixel.

About 4 kilometers across, the comet nucleus is presently just over 400 million kilometers from Earth, between the orbits of Jupiter and Mars. Now the first spacecraft to achieve a delicate orbit around a comet, Rosetta will swing to within 50 kilometers and closer in the coming weeks, identifiying candidate sites for landing its probe Philae later this year.

From the European Space Agency:

Posted on 12/11/2014 by emily

Rosetta and Philae separation confirmed

The Philae lander has separated from the Rosetta orbiter, and is now on its way to becoming the first spacecraft to touch down on a comet.

Separation was confirmed at ESA’s Space Operation Centre, ESOC, in Darmstadt, Germany at 09:03 GMT / 10:03 CET. It takes the radio signals from the transmitter on Rosetta 28 minutes and 20 seconds to reach Earth, so separation actually occurred in space at 08:35 GMT / 09:35 CET.

The first signal from Philae is expected in around two hours, when the lander establishes a communication link with Rosetta. Philae cannot send its data to Earth directly – it must do it via Rosetta.

Once the link has been established, the lander will relay via Rosetta a status report of its health, along with the first science data. This will include images taken of the orbiter shortly after separation.

The descent to the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko will take around seven hours, during which the lander will take measurements of the environment around the comet. It will also take images of the final moments of descent.

Confirmation of a successful touchdown is expected in a one-hour window centred on 17:02 GMT / 18:02 CET. The first image from the surface is expected some two hours later.

Follow the event live:

See also here. And here. And here.

European Space Agency’s Rosetta space probe on Wednesday successfully deployed its robotic lander Philae on the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. This is the first time a spacecraft has ever landed on the surface of a comet. The mission was ten years in the making: here.

Rosetta: Philae tight landing spot on comet prompts tough decisions for Esa. Rosetta mission controllers must decide whether to risk making lander hop from shadow of cliff blocking sunlight to its solar panels: here.

Millions of people around the world greeted with enthusiasm the news this week that the Philae lander had successfully touched down on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, a small and rocky celestial body half a billion kilometers from earth. A new milestone has been reached, with scientists for the first time able to conduct an on-the-spot analysis of a comet. During its sixty hours of operation, Philae’s nine instruments gathered information about the comet that will assist in answering long-standing questions about the history of the solar system. In particular, scientists hope that the mission will provide insight into the theory that comets are an early source of water and organic compounds on Earth. Though the lander has gone into hibernation from a lack of power, the results it has sent back are already providing insight into the comet’s composition: here.

Philae: life and times of a comet lander: here.

10 thoughts on “Spacecraft landing on comet news update

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