Search results for: philae

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Rosetta To Attempt First Ever Comet Landing This Week, Get The Details Here

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philae landerTen years ago, the European Space Agency (ESA) launched the Rosetta probe, and earlier this year it caught up with Comet 69P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. On Wednesday, Rosetta will release its Philae lander, which will then attempt the first-ever landing on a comet.

Humans haven’t landed probes or rovers on very many planetary bodies. We’ve set crafts down on the moon, Mars, Venus, Titan, and on two asteroids, but that’s in. This comet will be the seventh, and landing on a comet is no easy feat. Right now, Comet 69P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is moving pretty darn fast—forty times faster than a bullet. It’s also spinning and ejecting gas. That makes it a potentially tougher object to land on than Mars, and even then, Curiosity’s nail-biting landing two years ago was a close call.

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Leave Your Permanent Mark On Space By Naming This Historic Site

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RosettaHave you always wanted to leave your mark on outer space but didn’t know how? If you’re anything like us, you spend a lot of time in a dark room (it’s like we live in caves scattered around the country), scouring the Internet, and are hardly any kind of astronaut material (I shudder to think what astronaut training would do to my questionably shaped body, I imagine I would wind up looking like Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd in Spies Like Us). But now none of that matters, and you can help named the landing site for the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission. But you better hurry, because the competition ends today.

The Philae lander is scheduled to set down on Comet 69P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in the middle of next month on November 12. This will mark the first soft landing on a comet ever by a manmade object, which is pretty memorable, and will, inevitably, lead to more and more Armageddon style adventures in real life. Right now the location is designated Site J, which is hardly befitting of such a momentous occurrence, so ESA and their mission partners want your help in coming up with a better moniker.

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Rosetta Spacecraft Sends Back Stunning Close-Up Photos Of A Comet

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RosettaYou don’t hear the phrase “scientific Disneyland” all that often, at least not in my line of work, but that is how one observer described the new close-up photos of a comet that just arrived courtesy of Europe’s Rosetta spacecraft.

Rosetta, launched in 2004, recently arrived at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, which is a mouthful—I bet his friends just call him 67P—and almost immediately started sending back incredible pictures. This is a meeting that was more than a decade in the making. Taken at a distance f roughly 81 miles away, the photos show off what scientists are calling the “neck,” “head,” “body,” and “head of the dirty snowball” of the deep space projectile, all in incredible detail.

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Comet-Chasing Spacecraft Closes In

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Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko

Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko

After waking up in January, the European Space Agency’s spacecraft Rosetta is nearing its holy grail: a comet with the somewhat cumbersome name of 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.

The journey has been a long one; Rosetta started its pursuit of the comet back in 2004. You know what they say about perseverance — apparently, that’s the way to catch a comet. Since then, it’s traveled over six billion kilometers, circled the sun five times, and gotten three essential gravity boosts to put it on the right orbital path. So, are we there yet? Not quite. Rosetta has fewer than 300 miles to go, and on August 6, the long wait will be over. Among other things, that means space enthusiasts have only two more days to enter the “are we there yet?” competition.

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ESA’s Rosetta Probe Will Wake Up And Head For A Comet Next Month

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rosettaEarlier this month, NASA ended the short retirement of the asteroid hunter NEOWISE, putting it back on the prowl. Meanwhile, the European Space Agency (ESA) will soon see one of their own long-quiet spacecraft coming back to life, as the Rosetta Lander will soon wake up from its deep slumber to bring its 10-year mission to its long-awaited next step: performing the first ever soft landing on a comet. The next time someone tells me I’m taking too long to do something, I’m going to refer them to the Rosetta before getting back to my ice cream mountain climbing.

Rosetta launched back in March 2004, on a mission to reach and study in detail the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, or Churyumov-Gerasimenko for short. It performed a Mars flyby back in 2007 and a flyby of the asteroids 2867 Šteins and 21 Lutetia in 2008 and 2010, respectively, sending back images of both. It went into hibernation mode in 2011 and will stay that way until January 20, 2014, when it will set a direct course for the comet, which it is expected to reach at some point in August. It will then float around in a mapping orbit for the next few months. We all know there’s nothing more exciting than a mapping orbit, right?