Mission control for Rosetta and Philae. ESA
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.
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!
Rosetta mission updates
There’s an awesome graphic making the Internet rounds right now – the city of Los Angeles and Comet Churyumov–Gerasimenko (67P), to scale.
Well done, Michel @quark1972! Source
That comet isn’t going to hit LA. It’s special because the Rosetta spacecraft just intercepted it this month, about midway between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.
It looks big here, but Comet Churyumov–Gerasimenko, billions of years old, is really just a speck in the Solar System.
Imagine putting downtown Los Angeles physically out beyond Mars and the asteroid belt. Now, try not just to hit it with a rocket launched from South America, but also to have that rocket circle around downtown and then land in a park.