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Comet lander checks in with Earth

RATE THIS! +36
Posted in Science on 30th Mar, 2014 01:43 AM by AlexMuller

The Philae lander, which Europe hopes to put on the surface of a comet later this year, has been re-activated after three years in deep-space hibernation. The small probe is currently riding piggy-back on the Rosetta satellite. This was despatched 10 years ago to rendezvous with the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, and was itself awoken in January.

 
"Mothership" and lander should arrive at the huge ice object in August. After a period of mapping, Rosetta will then release Philae on its challenging bid to attach itself to 67P in November. Being only 4km across, the comet's gravitational field will be very weak, and the 100kg box of instruments will use harpoons and ice screws to try to hold itself down.
 
The German space agency (DLR) confirmed receipt of the activation message from Philae just after 1500 Central European Time (1400 GMT). Philae's wake-up is part of a sequence of commissioning activities taking place over the next few weeks.
 
The main probe was sent so far from Earth to chase down 67P that it went beyond the distance where solar panels could pick up enough energy to run all onboard systems. Engineers therefore took the decision to close down operations on the satellite for a period of 31 months.
 
Now that Rosetta is moving closer to the Sun again, those systems - and, in particular, the various scientific instruments - are all being switched back on, one by one.

Tags: spacecometprobeEarth

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Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-30
+3
Mission of Rosetta has already attracted a lot of attention - it will be remarkable to see how it will link to the comet and then analyse it - some months before the actual event, I hope it all works out!
4 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-30
+1
I think that Rosetta has embarked on one of the most daring
missions ever attempted -landing on a comet which is hurtling through space at
24,600 mph. See this happen! Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-30
+0
I found that it is because Rosetta oprates on solar energy alone, it was placed into a deep sleep in mid-2011 in order to conserve energy as it cruised far away from the Sun. It has been out of contact with Earth until a few mounts ago when was waken up! Great Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-30
+3
I think this is just an initial health-check and most systems will be switched straight back off again after because power availability remains constrained in the short-term. I hope the that Rosetta's health will be all clear!
2 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-30
+3
Yes, and the next big event will be in May when the major manoeuvre- that will start to refine Rosetta's trajectory to the comet- will be taking place. Good luck! Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-30
+2
Mission of Rosetta has already attracted a lot of attention - it will be remarkable to see how it will link to the comet and then analyse it - some months before the actual event, I hope it all works out!
4 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-30
+0
The comet that Rosetta is chasing is also amazing. Comet has almost no gravity, so Rosetta will have to use harpoons and ice anchors to clamp on to the surface.
It will study the gas and water vapour that will boil off and the chemical signature of hydrogen on the comet.
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-30
+1
Information about comets is greatly important. Comets are like a time capsule, they are relics from the beginning of the solar system Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-03-30
+0
Yes, we can learn great deal here Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2016-12-26
+0
Certainly makes sense but it is still worth noting that if you leave your hosts in the “vCenter Items To Be Removed” pane, they will all be thrown into maintenance mode at the same time and traffic jam may ensue. Not a big deal because you can cancel the attempts for maintenance mode and you’ll just have a lot of vmotion tasks to deal with if DRS is enabled with the right amount of agevnssiregess. Reply


 

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