ESA Releases Another Adorable Rosetta Video, Prepares for First Ever Soft Landing On Comet’s Surface
67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, Philae's going to walk on your face!
Never stop personifying space robots, ESA. Also, never stop doing awesome things like sending space robots to land on the surface of a comet, because that’s amazing, and Philae is almost ready to do just that on November 12.
The ESA released a rundown of the events that will take place from Tuesday into Wednesday next week as Rosetta and Philae attempt to make history with the first soft landing on a comet’s surface. At 2:30PM EST on Tuesday, Rosetta will begin sending data back and forth with its Flight Dynamics Team back on Earth to make sure it’s on the correct orbital path around the comet to send Philae properly to its designated safe landing zone on the comet.
For the following 13 or so hours, Rosetta will reposition itself with one last thruster burn, and the ESA ground teams will check Philae and Rosetta to make sure both are functioning properly ahead of their separation. Once they’re separated, Philae can’t be retrieved, so let’s hope there’s no separation anxiety between the buddy spacecraft—this is the culmination of 10 years of travel by the pair, and there won’t be a second chance.
We’ll know if the separation was successful right around 4AM EST on Wednesday. If all goes will, Philae will land on 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko’s surface and let us know through Rosetta at 11:02AM EST, almost 24 hours after it got started. To keep track for yourself, the ESA will have a live webcast, or you can follow along with their twitter account.
(via Laughing Squid)
- Rosetta took a selfie with its comet in the background
- And here’s a 3D image of the comet
- Watch the previous animation about the spacecraft that preceded this mission
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