Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Riding a Comet

...and they are breathing again in the European Space Agency's operations center!

The little Philae lander (100kg, 21kg of which is instruments) left the Rosetta mothership and plunked itself down safely on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Garasimenko. Or pulled itself down: the lander fired mini-harpoons into the surface and winched its way to contact.  The mission was launched ten and a half years ago. Flight controllers had tense moments as they waited out the 28-minute signal delay from the distant comet. NASA was a partner in areas including maintaining deep-space communications.
Congratulations ESA!

(Artist concept - credit ESA)

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