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.
Composited by Sean Doran from images taken by NASA’s Juno probe. Previously: Jupiter’s south pole.
From Nasa’s Juno probe: This image shows Jupiter’s south pole, as seen by NASA’s Juno spacecraft from an altitude of 32,000 miles (52,000 kilometers). The oval features are cyclones, up to 600 miles (1,000 kilometers) in diameter. Multiple images taken with the JunoCam instrument on three separate orbits were combined to show all areas in […]
You know what would go great with your Voyager Golden Record? A replica of the “galactic greeting card” plaque that rode along with the Pioneer 10 and 11 probes, designed by Frank Drake and Carl Sagan with artwork prepared by Linda Salzman Sagan.
While some people still maintain that everything in Apple’s walled garden “just works” and is immune to the rampant malware of the Windows world, the reality is different. The Mac’s growing market share has made it a much more viable target for malicious actors, and its built-in tools aren’t always enough to fix things. Drive […]
Boasting an IPX6 waterproof rating, the Trakk Bullet Ultra Compact Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker resists dust and heavy rainfall. It’s currently available in the Boing Boing Store.The Trakk Bullet offers the same wireless convenience as other portable speakers, but few are built as tough as this one. Its utilitarian construction is designed to be a totally low-maintenance […]
The Ticwatch 2 Active Smartwatch is a simpler take on an active wearable that raised over $2m dollars on Kickstarter and is currently offered in the Boing Boing Store.Somewhere in between the single-day battery life and platform-specificity of the Apple Watch and Android Wear devices, there exists the Ticwatch. Instead of trying to shoehorn another […]