Thursday, November 13, 2014

ESA Rosetta mission: Philae Lander hanging on to Comet 67/P and broadcasting

ESA Rosetta's robotic probe, Philae Lander made a historic comet landing on comet 67/P and is now said to be stable after initially failing to attach to the surface.

Pictures are coming back from the craft as scientists debate how to proceed.

The OSIRIS camera (Optical, Spectrocopic and Infrared Remote Imaging System) is vital to the mission and it would be a huge disappointment if it fails to function.

ESA Rosetta team made a statement that it is still 'not possible to analyze images from the lander, raising speculation about the state of the craft and its instruments. We are told that the radar is not working.

Has the lander landed upright after bouncing 3 times on the surface? Has it toppled in the soft surface? Has it sunk too deeply into the surface? or are the instruments simply malfunctioning?

The Rosetta team should be able to see a large part of the comet from its current location because, technically, the lander has an albedo a lot larger then the comet.

European Space Agency engineers working on the lander say it may have bounced 3 times, and lifted off hundreds of metres back up off the surface, after first touching down.

Scientists hope the probe will analyse the comet's surface to yield insights into the origins of our Solar System.

The Esa's Rosetta satellite carried Philae on a 6.4 billion-km (4bn-mile) journey to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

The robot probe, the size of a washing machine, was launched from the satellite on Wednesday and spent seven hours travelling to the comet.

News of the first landing was confirmed at about 16:05 GMT on Wednesday.

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