Too Many Rosetta Mission Links? There’s No Such Thing.

Too Many Rosetta Mission Links? There’s No Such Thing. November 13, 2014

During the last few weeks, I’ve been mildly (TRANSLATION: full-blown, all-out) obsessed with all things Philae/Rosetta. But even as I was geeking out, I didn’t understand the magnitude of the achievement, nor recognize the extraordinary technical expertise involved. Not really.

At least not until I saw this (courtesy of the folks at ESA):



These Flickr images do not diminish my obsession. Not in the slightest.

Nor does this rough-cut of next week’s PBS special, “To Catch a Comet:”

Apparently, the landing was a bit bumpy. Just a bit.

Engineers at Esa have calculated that the touchdown velocity was 1 m/s, slower than expected. Without the harpoons as anchors, Philae rebounded with a velocity of 38cm/s and conducted a leisurely jump for two hours.

In that time, it is now thought that Philae reached a altitude of about 1km and drifted about 1km away from the original site. On a comet of just 4km in length, that is quite significant.

The second jump was just for a few minutes and resulted in the lander coming to rest somewhere in the original landing site candidate known as site B.

Lastly, xkcd’s Randal Monroe live-comiced — (“Live-comiced.” Is that a thing? What about “live-drew?”) — a 140+ frame comic of the event. Check it out; it’s just as awesome as you’d expect. (And here’s a website that lets you go frame-by-frame).

Attribution(s): Rosetta images and graphics are the property of The European Space Agency (ESA), and have been made available for “educational or informational purposes.”

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