The time has finally come for the Rosetta spacecraft’s “Philae” lander to land on Comet 67P. Rosetta’s journey began 10 years ago when the European Space Agency launched this mission. Tomorrow, November 12, 2014 will mark the day that Rosetta’s Philae lander will make history. Never has a spacecraft landed on a Comet before mostly because of the incredible difficulty of such a task. Not only does the spacecraft have to match the orbit and spin of the Comet, but scientists had to devise a way to land a spacecraft on an object with hardly any gravity.
Scientists and engineers developed a plan to shoot a harpoon into the icy Comet surface in order to keep the lander attached to it. From that point forward scientists will be racing to use Philae’s instruments and take as many samples as possible. After the initial power runs out, which lasts about 65 hours, the lander will have to use its solar panels to recharge its battery. At that point Philae will have to wait a few days in between usage to be able to operate.
Eager to begin using the instruments aboard Philae, Scientists believe that they will learn more about the origins of the Universe than ever before. Some Scientists even believe that life on Earth could have come from a comet. Needless to say, this is a moment that will likely change the way that we think of the Cosmos. The European Space Agency has allowed the public to follow the mission on its website. If you want to see the Philae lander make history just click here. Thanks for stopping by!
Back in 2004, the European Space Agency launched a spacecraft named Rosetta on a journey to study a distant comet. The comet referred to as “comet 67P” has an elliptical orbit around the Sun that takes 6 and half years to complete. In August of 2014, Rosetta finally reached its destination. Today the spacecraft is orbiting the comet and looking for a landing zone for its “Philae” lander which will take samples of the comet’s surface.
In recent years, Scientists have discovered the crucial role that comets play in the formation of planets and possibly even life. The arrival of Rosetta at comet 67P is a landmark accomplishment that has never before been achieved. ESA claims that it will decide on a landing spot in three days on September 15, 2014. Scientists are eager to begin exploring the surface of this comet as it may contain clues to the origin of life on Earth.
A journey that has spanned more than 6 billion kilometers since its start is now at the cusp of unveiling some of science’s most coveted secrets. I will be following the news on this expedition and updating you on any new discoveries that are made in the near future. Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!
Check out this really interesting video. NASA’s Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) was able to capture video footage of a solar eruption from our sun. According to the data that was received by IRIS, the eruption was about eight times taller and five times wider than the Earth while traveling at about one and a half million miles per hour! What’s more amazing is how the footage was captured. According to NASA, IRIS must focus on different areas of activity on the sun an entire day in advance in order to capture an event like this one. Needless to say this was not a simple task. The official term for the eruption is a coronal mass ejection (CME). Thanks to some sound scientific predictions, IRIS was able to capture its first ever footage of a CME in action. Enjoy the clip!