Update, November 14, 4:48 p.m. Pacific: Philae is in a location that doesn’t get enough sunlight to operate its solar panels. It is running on the power it left Rosetta with. The ESA has put it to sleep after getting as much science out of it today that they could. It can be woken up as needed (hopefully). Emily Lakdawalla of the Planetary Society has more about this.
Bouncing…who would have expected it to do that on a comet!
Update, November 13, 5:08 p.m. Pacific: Philae bounced three times during landing yesterday (a surface quality they didn’t expect the comet to have, it seems), and while Rosetta still can’t see it, per news reports, the lander is now in a depression near a cliff. There isn’t enough sunlight to power its solar panels, reportedly, and one leg is off the ground.
The ESA team may have decided to use the MUPUS instruments to move the lander – time will tell on that.
They deduced this from instrument readings, I guess, and this imagery from Philae:
Here’s an ESA news release. So far, there are two tweets from Philae’s team:
And there is this…location to be determined later:
We’re doing this week’s Ad Astra post early because the European Space Agency is sending down the Rosetta mission’s Philae lander on Wednesday, November 12.
It’s going to attempt a landing on Comet 67P, according to the present schedule, at around 10:35 a.m. Eastern. Since there is a time delay due to distance (this is happening about midway between Mars and the asteroid belt), people on Earth won’t know if it worked until about a half-hour later.
No one knows what a comet’s surface is like, so we’ll all have to wait and see what happens.
The Livestream will be here, starting Tuesday. The ESA will have its webcast here, also starting Tuesday. NASA-TV will carry live coverage here from 9 to 10 a.m. Eastern on Wednesday and then will switch over to ESA coverage from 10 to 11:30.
Never we know but in sleet and in snow,
The place where the great fires are,
That the midst of the earth is a raging mirth
And the heart of the earth a star.
— G. K. Chesterton, “A Child of the Snows”
Well, it is pretty hot in the Earth’s core, but there is a real star in our skies every day.
Mankind’s names for it vary across the inhabited lands of Earth.
We take the Sun – a G-type main-sequence star – for granted.
What if it disappeared?
Yeah, bad news for you and me.
In a few weeksOn November 11, Rosetta is going to attempt to land Philae on a comet nucleus. No one knows what they will find, even if the comet’s surface is solid enough to withstand the touchdown.
Here is more about the Philae lander:
Let’s keep our fingers crossed!
Meanwhile, in space…where are our unmanned Solar System exploration craft today?
Just about everywhere, it turns out.
The Planetary Society has the best one-stop website on space missions that I’ve found – you could get lost for hours there, checking it all out.
Below is an outline based on the Society’s information.
At the bottom of each section I have also posted the question that I’m most curious about. Over coming weeks, I’ll fill this outline out with posts on each Solar System member (as you’ll see, a few have already been covered).
Here is our post about the Sun.
In this six-part series, NASA Goddard’s chief scientist, Jim Garvin, gives a talk on what scientists have found out about Mercury, Venus, Mars, some near-Earth objects, and the Moon. He explains it in a way that helps us to understand our own planet better.
Time is a bit tight this week, so there will be guest videos through Thursday, and then a big post about firestorms on Friday.
When Neil Armstrong passed away, many of us first realized that no one has walked on the Moon recently.
Others marked the sad milestone and then got back to the business of commercial human spaceflight.
What is red, is a planet and is the focus of my orbit? pic.twitter.com/HDRWjOcPus
— ISRO's Mars Orbiter (@MarsOrbiter) September 24, 2014
We have seen two historic firsts today, September 24:
- The arrival of India’s first interplanetary space mission at its goal
- A completely successful first attempt to reach Mars (the Russians and the Americans had to try multiple times; technically, the orbiter part of Europe’s first mission – the Mars Express – has been very successful, but its Beagle 2 lander was lost).
Today the Mars Orbiter Mission – MOM, or (Mangalyaan, which reportedly means “Mars vehicle”) – has succeeded on its first attempt at orbital insertion around Mars. Unlike NASA’s MAVEN (an atmospheric research orbiter that successfully entered Martian orbit three days ago), Mangalyaan did have a second chance to do this in another couple of days, if the first attempt didn’t work, but it didn’t need it.