Landing on a Comet

As if getting Rosetta to comet 67 G-C and then successfully entering an orbit. ESA is going to land on the comet with the little Philae. I am waiting to hear where though.

Want to hear something kind of sad? Mind that I don’t watch much television, but I’ve not heard one mention of this mission here in the states on any of the main “news media” outlets. One of, if not the coolest missions in years and years and nothing, except for NASA TV but that doesn’t count.

Anyway, ESA/ATG medialab have created this extended version of Philae touchdown animation to include visualisations of some of the science experiments on on the lander.

The animation begins with the deployment of Philae from Rosetta at comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko in November 2014. Rosetta will come to within about 10 km of the nucleus to deploy Philae, which will take several hours to reach the surface. Because of the comet’s extremely low gravity, landing gear will absorb the small forces of landing while ice screws in the probe’s feet and a harpoon system will lock the probe to the surface. At the same time a thruster on top of the lander will push it down to counteract the impulse of the harpoon imparted in the opposite direction. Once it is anchored to the comet, the lander will begin its primary science mission, based on its 64-hour initial battery lifetime. The animation then shows five of Philae’s 10 instruments in action: CIVA, ROLIS, SD2, MUPUS and APXS.

Rosetta’s Philae lander is provided by a consortium led by DLR, MPS, CNES and ASI.

Credit: ESA/ATG medialab