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Rosetta, Philae and Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.


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  • 2 weeks later...

I love how this mission has wiped the idea everyone had about how comets look off the map, and replaced it with a much more complex and intricate phenomena. They are not just abstract piles of stuff zipping around any more, they are tangible objects now.

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Lovely !

Any news on the Philae wake-up ?

This spring has been quite hot so far so... What ? It doesn't work this way ? :D :D

Seems they managed to narrow down to a 50m2 area where the lander should be.

Now, They still have no response from philae - though, they said it might be because philae still doesn't have enough sunlight to power up it's transmitter. (Basically, philae has to first power up it's thermal regulation system from the first energy it has - once it reached operationnal temperatures, it was to recharge it's batteries with the the additionnal energy (on top of keeping the thermal systems active) before trying to make contact.

However, the scientists think philae might have enough power for it's receiver to be already active - so they sent a modification to the program, so philae will attempt to reestablish contact before recharging it's batteries.

Now, it can still take up to end of may until philae has enough power avaible to broadcast a signal. (However, seems the rover is stuck in a really bad position)


Else, it seems that bouncing around allowed philae to take magnetic field readouts from more points than what was expected - and they discovered that the comet has no magnetic field :)


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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...
67P looks like a heaven for freeclimbers. And, somehow, oddly inviting to me.

I suppose there is little climbing to be done in a place that is loosely stacked together and has such a small escape velocity that a simple push might be enough to float off and never come back.

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Rosetta has identified a "promising candidate" for Philae



- visibile only in post-landing images, not in pre-landing ones

- good size match

- good solar illumination match

- good radio visibility match

- region was poorly illuminated -> relatively inactive -> unlikely that it's something "natural"

- current shape model isn't perfect, so the landing ellipse could be slightly adjusted and include this spot

- it's visible in two images, so it's a real feature, not a dust grain or an image artifact


- 7 weeks between images, plenty of time for a rock to fall off a cliff or something

- just outside landing ellipse


And, but that's just my opinion, the region looks strikingly similar to the one imaged by Philae.


Edited by Frida Space
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Nice! :)

Still a bit surprised it took so long, but then again I have no insight into the difficulty of the process involved.

Too bad that finding Philae doesn't magically make it reactivate, that would be the best of news by far.

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Quite the contrary. It's solar-powered, and the comet is still approaching the sun, meaning it gets "less dead" every passing day.

It'll only be fully dead if the comet passes perihelion and the lander still hasn't answered by then.

Also, if you read the article, you'll see it pointed out that knowing the lander's exact location (even if it never answers again) is important for interpretating the data that it sent, especially for the CONSERT experiment that tries to define the comet's interior structure. It's almost 100% location-dependant.

Edited by Streetwind
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It is possible Philae is awake when Rosetta is on the other side, so they can't contact. Before it starts communicating, it first needs to heat its batteries.

We're looking at possible situation where they just fail to hear one another because Rosetta is in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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Well... many of these probes will die if they lose power for too long... what are the odds this thing would start working even if it did get enough sunlight...

As long as the temperatures haven't been too low during these months, I don't see why it shouldn't. It's been 6 months, not 60 years. It survived in almost constant hibernation for 10 years in deep space.

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Rosetta has identified a "promising candidate" for Philae

[cool photos]

it's a... uhm?

it looks like a...

a spot.

a white spot.

a white spot of unknown origin on an otherwise dark and cratered celestial object...

i definitively will have that in mind while waiting on news of the Ceres mission. :-D

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