Friday, November 14, 2014

Awesome things happening in space ...

SA’s Rosetta mission has soft-landed its Philae probe on a comet, three times apparently - who knew that Philae would act like a superball ?  The first landing was great, except that the anchoring harpoons did not deploy as expected and Philae bounced, taking a few hours and another bounce to finally come to rest.

The other landings were less ideal ... so the final configuration is probably something like this ...

To create this image, the CIVA-P imaging system took the first panoramic image Philae returned from the surface of the comet and superimposed the image of a sketch of the Philae lander based on the location of the landing gear seen in some of the image frames. Not quite what they were hoping for, still the images are fantastic.

So - good news - it landed and is sending images and data.

However, there is more bad news as well. Recent images show that the probe is close to a cliff and in the cliff's shadow - which means that the probes solar panels are not getting much light. Philae is apparently running off batteries, which means it could stop functioning much earlier than anticipated.

Still - super cool stuff!

Also in the recent events ... India's Mars Orbiter Mission, the country's first interplanetary mission, blasted off from the Satish Dhawan Space center in Sriharikota, India on November 5th.

Meanwhile in the US, we have private companies blowing up and crashing in their attempts to make "space tourism" a viable option for the extremely wealth.  Sigh.

Also ...

I have no idea where I snagged this from - if you know please leave me a comment so I can give credit !

Well, I don't know about you, but the images that I hope stick to mind are those from the Rosetta scientists in the main control room celebrating after (what turned out to be the first) touchdown ...

and the images from the control room in India.

India hailed its low-cost mission to Mars with celebrations at the command centre near Bangalore. (source)

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