Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Rosetta on a Stone

Click the arrow to watch a summary of the Rosetta mission. Video source: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory YouTube channel.

It may have landed once.

It may have landed twice.

But it did land.

Will it stay put? We don't know yet.

Anyway, ESA's Rosetta probe today successfully placed its Philae lander on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.

Initial reports suggest the harpoons that were to have secured the lander to the surface failed to fire, but ice screws may be holding it in place.

A photo of the comet taken by Philae three kilometers from the surface. Image source: European Space Agency.

One commercial asteroid mining company, Asteroid Initiatives, suggests this technology could be used by its industry.

During the landing, I couldn't help but wonder what Carl Sagan would think about this mission if he were alive. I'm sure he'd be overjoyed, for the science but also for the technological achievement.

In that Saganesque theme, ESA released this computer generated imagery of the Rosetta landing due a musical score by Vangelis, who did the score for the original Cosmos in 1980.

Click the arrow to watch “Philae's Journey” with music by Vangelis. Video source: European Space Agency, ESA YouTube channel.

UPDATE November 13, 2014ESA released the first image taken by Philae on the comet's surface.

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