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Old 11-12-2014, 09:47 AM   #1
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Default SPACE NEWS

European spacecraft begins descending to comet 67P

http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2014/11/...tcmp=obnetwork

EXTRACT

DARMSTADT, Germany – The European Space Agency's unmanned Rosetta probe successfully released a lander toward the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on Wednesday, putting it on its final seven-hour journey to a historic rendezvous with the fast-moving lump of dust and ice.

The audacious landing attempt is the climax of a decade-long mission to study the 2.5-mile wide comet. It is also the end of a 4 billion-mile journey on which Rosetta carried its sidekick lander Philae piggyback.

"It's on its own now," said Stephan Ulamec, Philae Lander Manager at the DLR German Aerospace Center. "We'll need some luck not to land on a boulder or a steep slope."

If successful, it will be the first time that a spacecraft has landed on a comet. Confirmation of a landing should reach Earth by about 11:03 a.m. EST.
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Old 11-12-2014, 09:48 AM   #2
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Live streaming:

http://www.space.com/17933-nasa-tele...41112_35444407
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Old 11-12-2014, 12:05 PM   #3
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They are all cheering, so I guess that is good news.
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Old 11-12-2014, 12:10 PM   #4
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Lander is sitting on the surface and talking to mission control.

Well done!
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Old 11-12-2014, 12:20 PM   #5
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---------- Post added at 10:18 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:14 AM ----------

Pictures will be here. Pictures to 10km up now.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/europe...7638315605535/

---------- Post added at 10:20 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:18 AM ----------

Christ, all of the politicians are talking now.

Boring.

I guess they were holding off until it was "safe" after the landing.



BRING ON THE PICTURES!
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Old 11-12-2014, 12:53 PM   #6
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I was actually tense about this. Well done!
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Old 11-12-2014, 12:57 PM   #7
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Very cool and well done!

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Old 11-12-2014, 01:52 PM   #8
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Freaking AWESOME!!!

I know, I know... it's ONE mkission to ONE comet to collect ONE data set but it's still astonishing when you think of everything that's gone into this.

Standing on the shoulders of giants indeed. From the fuels, to the metals & composites needed, the software to launch, navigate, guide the whole complex, astounding, mess - amazing.

We may never really learn more than specific info about this one little comet. But it will be tons more than we had before about any comet & hopefully, will lead to more missions with the same intent.

It makes me feel so small... but in a wonderful way.

If that makes any sense.
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Old 11-12-2014, 02:00 PM   #9
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Possible problem. I'm assuming the harpoons are meant for anchoring the comet.

Philae spacecraft says its harpoons have not fired after landing on comet - @Philae2014
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Old 11-12-2014, 02:07 PM   #10
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Science fiction moves to science fact.
Great achievement
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Old 11-12-2014, 02:11 PM   #11
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Philae Lander‏@Philae2014

.@ESA_Rosetta See for yourself! ROLIS imaged #67P when we were just 3km away! Glad I can share. #CometLanding

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Old 11-12-2014, 02:36 PM   #12
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Oh, oh! They NEED those harpoons to anchor the lander. Let's hope they figure that out.
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Old 11-12-2014, 02:57 PM   #13
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Where's Bruce Willis when you need him??
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Old 11-12-2014, 03:18 PM   #14
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Anyone watching the presser on the ESA live streaming?

Real scientists giving information. They are excited! They stumble! Real scientific rough information.

Not scripted like NASA at all.

G-d I am drinking it all in. Just like the 1960s.

Lander is not anchored. Boo.
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Old 11-12-2014, 03:25 PM   #15
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I love it - real people, real science & I especially love the excitement. Dull & dry world of work my butt. A lot of it certainly is... & then you get days like this where in one glorious stretch of several hours, everything comes good.
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Old 11-12-2014, 03:34 PM   #16
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A very nice touch - one of the men who discovered #67P was at ESOC for the landing.


ESA Operations @esaoperations · 6h 6 hours ago

A famous guy! 1969 co-discoverer of #67P, Klim Ivanovych Churyumov, at ESOC today!
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Old 11-12-2014, 03:53 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Potemkin View Post
Anyone watching the presser on the ESA live streaming?

Real scientists giving information. They are excited! They stumble! Real scientific rough information.

Not scripted like NASA at all.

G-d I am drinking it all in. Just like the 1960s.

Lander is not anchored. Boo.
I love the reaction of the scientists, unscripted pure joy.
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Old 11-12-2014, 03:55 PM   #18
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Discovery is doing an hour special tonight at 1900 - talking about the mission - from conception to, (successful!), execution. Not missing that!
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Old 11-12-2014, 04:17 PM   #19
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Absolutely stunning. I am thrilled for ESA. The images are captivating, and this mission has achieved so many scientific and space exploration milestones. A little bittersweet too, because it is unfortunately clear that NASA has lost its way to a degree over the past couple of decades.
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Old 11-12-2014, 09:02 PM   #20
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"It was too beautiful to fail." That's my take away quote from the Discovery special I just watched. My word - 60 minutes of tv passed in what seemed like 10-15 minutes...LOL

The clarity of the images - wow.

If they're already getting tons of data, (which will take years to analyse), imagine what they might have a chance to get when the comet starts seriously outgassing & doing other comety things?

I can't help but think that in the reams of data currently beaming back lie a few hundred doctorates & one or two world changing ideas...

science is so cool.
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Old 11-12-2014, 09:31 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CanadaSue View Post
science is so cool.
Why, yes Sue, yes it is!
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Old 11-12-2014, 09:41 PM   #22
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LOL - I know, that sounded pretty fatuous. But at some point in my pea brain, something this monumental quickly surpasses my stable of superlatives.

I'm just beaming with happy for the whole team. Years & years of conceptualizing, working out tens of thousands of kinks, bringing together in working teams the hundreds of specialties & subspecialties needed, the launch, the chase, the catch...

it rocks.
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Old 11-14-2014, 12:13 AM   #23
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highly scientific
yet the probability estimates were being communicated by strange body and face movements
of operators rather than by numbers.
How likely is success/failure ? How much % of experiments can be done
Who gives numbers


> have some ideas how to solve the problems

sounds like 50% to me ?!



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philae_(spacecraft)

--------------------------

now I found:

before the landing ESA had given the probability of it's failure as 50%
Berndt Feuerbacher, one of the main constructors had given 25% for failure
now it's partial success with remaining risks
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Old 11-14-2014, 04:17 AM   #24
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I agree it is partial sucess with risks, they are getting huge amounts of data already, anything is a bonus.
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Old 11-14-2014, 09:09 AM   #25
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Comet landing: Scientists unsure about Philae probe’s location

http://www.foxnews.com/science/2014/...obes-location/
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The European Space Agency’s Philae lander bounced twice before finally settling on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on Wednesday, leaving scientists uncertain about its exact location.

The good news is that Philae is stable and already collecting data to send back to Earth. However, the bad news is that the craft's useful lifetime may be significantly less than anticipated after it landed in the shadow of a cliff.

Philae's 60-hour battery will run out of power within a day or two. At that point, scientists had planned to use the lander's solar panels, which are designed to provide an hour of battery power each day. The shadow cast by the cliff now poses a huge challenge for the ESA.

"We see that we get less solar power than we planned for," said Koen Geurts of the ESA's lander team.

"This, of course, has an impact on our ... capabilities to conduct science for an extended period of time," he said. "Unfortunately this is not a situation that we were hoping for."

Philae made history when it became the first probe to land on a comet, ending its audacious 10-year journey to rendezvous with 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

ESA scientists, however, soon reported that the washing machine-sized craft may have landed twice. The comet, which is about 2.5 miles wide, travels at speeds up to 84,000 miles per hour.

Speaking on a press conference early on Thursday, Lander Project Manager Stephan Ulamec confirmed that, after touching down in the correct location, the probe’s first bounce lasted 2 hours and took the craft up to a distance of more than half a mile.

The second bounce was “a very small jump” of just over an inch per second for 7 minutes. “It makes it hard for us to know where we are now,” he added.

Scientists, however, have identified an area of the comet where it may be.

“We will have a chance to find the lander,” said Holger Sierks, principal investigator of the Osiris imaging system on the Rosetta spacecraft that carried Philae. Sierks noted that ESA is already investigating two possible locations.

During its press conference, ESA officials showed images from the landing site, revealing that Philae eventually landed on rock-like material, apparently on the rim of a crater.

“Astonishing – we thought that we would land on powder material,” said Jean-Pierre Bibring, the Philae lead scientist. “We will have more information in the coming hours.”

The images also show that Philae landed very near a cliff face. “It’s probably a matter of meters,” said Bibring. “We’re very close by.”

According to the images, one of the lander’s three ‘feet’ is not resting on the comet’s surface, and may be above a hole or depression.

In response to a journalist’s question, Ulamec said that, with only two feet on the comet’s surface, Philae is unlikely to make a planned “jump” to another location.

“We could, in principle, operate the landing gear,” he said, explaining that this could shift the lander. “It would be very, very, difficult.”

The ESA also released the first panoramic picture taken from the Philae lander. The three feet of Philae's landing gear can be seen in some of the frames.

Earlier on Thursday, the ESA released the first picture taken by the probe after determining that the craft had stabilized following a tension-filled landing. Harpoons meant to anchor the lander to the surface failed to work properly, causing Philae to bounce twice.

Gerhard Schwehm, a scientist on the Rosetta mission, told The Associated Press that it may still be possible to fire the harpoons but in any case the lander is "very healthy." However, Ulamec told the BBC that he was wary of making another attempt to fire the harpoons on the grounds that Philae could be thrown back into space.

Although the mission clearly faces ongoing challenges, experts have lauded the ESA’s achievement in reaching the comet. Daniel Brown, an astronomy expert at Nottingham Trent University in the U.K., is particularly impressed with the collaborative nature of the comet mission.

The lander was developed by a European consortium led by the German Aerospace Research Institute (DLR), which includes ESA and institutes from a number of countries, including the U.S.

“I would attribute the success of the landing to the successful collaboration of a big international team that were responsible for developing Rosetta and Philae,” Brown said, in an email to FoxNews.com. “This also includes nations beyond the E.U., for example, the U.S. and Australia, that not only supported with instruments on board but also with the provision of tracking stations etc.”

“It has shown us what we can achieve when we work together,” Brown added. “For such a landing everything had to be spot on and this was also a huge achievement from the team dealing with the trajectory of Rosetta.“

A key question remains whether Philae's drill can be used to extract samples from beneath the surface without pushing the lander into space. Gravity on the comet is 1/100,000th that of Earth, meaning the lander weighs just 0.04 ounces there.

Philae and Rosetta will use 21 instruments to analyze the comet. Scientists hope the $1.62 billion will help them better understand comets and other celestial objects, as well as possibly answer questions about the origins of life on Earth.
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