Human beings reached a new space exploration milestone this week: landing the Rosetta mission's Philae probe on a comet some 316 million miles from Earth.
This is the first time we've landed a human-made thing on a freaking comet, and it's blowing our minds. How did the scientists and engineers at ESA
and their partners at NASA
pull it off? This ESA video and GIF explain it all, in chronological order, over the 12-year period from mission launch to Philae's touchdown
This animation tracks Rosetta's journey through the Solar System, using gravity slingshots from Earth and Mars to reach its final destination: Comet 67P/Churyumov--Gerasimenko. Rosetta made three flybys of Earth, on 4 March 2005, 13 November 2007 and 13 November 2009, and one of Mars, on 25 February 2007. Rosetta has also visited two asteroids, taking extensive close-up images of 2867 Steins on 5 September 2008 and 21 Lutetia on 10 July 2010. Once the spacecraft is woken up from deep space hibernation on 20 January 2014, it will head for rendezvous with the comet in May. In November the Philae probe will be deployed to the comet surface. Rosetta will follow the comet to its closest distance to the Sun on 13 August 2015 and as it moves back towards the outer Solar System. The nominal mission end is December 2015.
Here's the Rosetta mission website.
At the time of this blog post, scientists have re-established contact with the Rosetta probe, but it appears to be stuck in a crater where it cannot get enough sunlight to power up its solar panels. As with so many gadgets back here on earth, the biggest bummer is battery life.
Get ready to fall into a black hole of non-productivity once you open NASA’s new Image and Video Library. Lots of great tags and captions to find what you want!
NASA has always been an early adopter of technology like virtual and augmented reality for training. Here’s a cool glimpse into how they train future ISS and landing party astronauts.
Over a decade ago, we tipped readers to the astronomy illustrations of Trouvelot. now the New York Public Library has a large collection of his work available online.
Maybe it’s entirely because of podcast ads, but drag-and-drop tools like Squarespace have gotten immensely popular in recent years. While it’s definitely a great tool for any non-coders who want to get a small website up and running quickly, managing content with a primarily visual interface can become a pain once you have more than […]
When you can’t wait for the world’s longest meeting to end, the mindless leg bouncing makes your boredom obvious and just annoys everybody else. Everyone knows the TPS reports need the damn cover sheet, but some sadistic colleague keeps forgetting, probably on purpose just to eat into your lunch hour. Enough is enough!While serving a […]
What could be more fun than a slingshot that shoots tiny airplanes? A slingshot that shoots tiny glowing airplanes of course! These toy planes are outfitted with ultra-bright LEDs, so you can fly all night without losing them in the trees.Whether you are a regular-sized child, or an overgrown adult one, these light-up flyers offer […]