Thursday, August 07, 2014

Rosetta now in ORBIT!!!

The Rosetta spacecraft has after over a decade of maneuvering become the first probe to orbit a comet. Now I know that is going to raise a few hackles, but Ceres etc. were ASTEROIDS and mini-planets or dwarf planets.So Dawn et al were another class of probe and the few that DID approach were chasers or fly ahead types that did good science, it is Rosetta that will set the bar much higher.

Controllers instructed Rosetta to fire its thrusters on its final approach to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, "Chury", on Wednesday August seventh.  They announced a half an hour after the burn, that the Rosetta had entered into orbit around the comet.

The Rosetta probe will remain in orbit, but plans are to get the probe to within 6 miles so the second history making part of the mission to take place.  Early in November of 2014 the lander Philae will set another historic first for the Rosetta mission by landing on the surface.  (that should prove quite a feat as Chury is swapping it's north and south poles at a fairly rapid interval)  when it lands on the comet.

From the NationalJournal website

  • The 220-pound probe will deploy ice screws and harpoons as it hits the surface, because 67P's (Chury) minimal gravity is not enough to keep it anchored.


Dave Tackett said...

Good to see a post, I was starting to worry. Right, it is the first to orbit a comet, though I think the distinctions between comets and asteroids are becoming a bit blurred the more we find out about them.

Beam Me Up said...

Sorry about that Dave, but I had a meltdown of the main computer, finally had to give up and do a few months restored then during that mess I had a setback in health. knocked me down the better part of this week, but I think I have turned the corner.

Blurred hell yeah. I looked high and low and all I could find were the impactors and chasers. But I am sure there was an earlier NASA mission that had a soft landing, I dont know if it was the whole craft or a probe, but you think I could find it? NOPE not even on the NASA site. Lots of early talk about Rosetta But that was it! You find anything post it up...

Dave Tackett said...

Hope you are better! Stay well - Space Captain's orders!

I think you are thinking of NEAR Shoemaker which landed on Eros back in 2001. []

Beam Me Up said...

That does seem to ring the right bells! That WAS the craft I remembered. I spaced Eros and the fact that it was a near Earth asteroid. Duh! Great find. I wonder if I should make a mention of Near Shoemaker on the next program. Opinions?