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back to article Rosetta comet chaser due to wake up for final rendezvous on Monday

Scientists at the European Space Agency and NASA are facing a nervous weekend as the Rosetta spacecraft prepares to power up after three years of hibernation on Monday morning. Rosetta Rosetta could unlock the language of cometary life The billion-Euro spacecraft, launched in 2004, is approaching comet 67P/Churyumov- …

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Well, here's wishing them all the success in th... er, out of this world!

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If all goes well on Monday, this will be fascinating to follow. Guess I'll have to stock up on popcorn for this one.

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Cometary Catbird Seat?

Space gryphons?

Squawk.

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Re: Cometary Catbird Seat?

" ... on the cusp ..." and " ... in the cometary catbird seat .."

We need more metaphors.

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Poor little comet

Happily minding it's own business when some little urchin comes along and stabs it!

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Re: Poor little comet

After all the probing we've gotten from alien entities, it's about time we caught something alien and probed back.

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Boffin

Re: Poor little comet

Björn J.R. Davidssona and Pedro J. Gutiérrez find that the semi-major axis of the nucleus Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is close to 2.5 km, the nucleus axis ratio is approximately 1.4. An upper limit on the nucleus bulk density of 600 kg m³ is suggested.

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Anonymous Coward

Anonymous prediction: the comet will turn out to have curiously asteroid-like properties.

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It should be an exact fit

for one of the potholes round here!

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Anonymous Coward

Amazing stuff

Especially the maths used to calculate all the orbital trajectories.

I have trouble with long division...

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Re: Amazing stuff

I once had to do a long division in octal, to solve a specific problem.

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Re: Amazing stuff

Octal Division

32h% easier than hexadecimal

11001000% harder than binary

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Boffin

Mission and craft is ESA, not NASA...

It would have helped to mention in the article that the mission and the probe is really only ESA's: paid by, designed by, launched by and operated by.....However NASA does provide support to various degrees for a couple of instruments and covers a part of the deep space tracking network. Instrument scientists at both organization might be anxious but it pales by the stakes ESA has in the functioning of the spacecraft and probe itself.

Send a reporter to the live event this Monday!

http://www.esa.int/spaceinvideos/esalive

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Re: Mission and craft is ESA, not NASA...

NASA's DSN antennas will be picking up the first signal but it is certainly an ESA mission, controlled from ESOC in Darmstadt, Germany.

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A PROFOUND EXAMPLE, OF WHAT CAN BE DONE, BY THE USE OF 'ELECTRICITY, MINERALS, TIME AND MANKINDS INGENUITY. FOR US WW2 BABIES, SUCH FEATS WERE JUST MATTERS OF UNBELIEVABLE SCIENCE FICTION.. THE CIVILIZATION THAT HAS EVOLVED OUT OF THIS CHRISTIAN-CULTURED WESTERN WORLD, IN THE LAST 500 YEARS, IS WHAT FREE-MEN CAN DO WHEN GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY. I HOPE THIS PROJECT WORKS WELL, BUT WHATEVER HAPPENS, IT IS A TRIUMPH OF THE FULL RANGE OF ENGINEERING GODD LUCK FOR MONDAY

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Anonymous Coward

@roberthector - We hear you.

"A profound example, of what can be done, by the use of 'electricity, minerals, time and mankinds' ingenuity. For us WW2 babies, such feats were just matters of unbelievable science fiction.. The civilization that has evolved out of this christian-cultured western world, in the last 500 years, is what free-men can do when given the opportunity. I hope this project works well, but whatever happens, it is a triumph of the full range of engineering. Good luck for Monday"

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@robertHECTOR

Stop hectoring us Robert. Also note that the 'Western World' was cultured long before there were Christians and continues to be so in spite of Christians. The 'Orient' also did fine without Christians. Disclaimer: other parts of the world are also cultured and may or may not contain satellite production and launch facilities.

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Descartes might disagree with the christian part in this. Galileo probably too and I'm unsure about Da Vinci, he had some protection from the christians when he made his dissections.

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Anonymous Coward

A contest

Someone should start a pool in bitcoins for how long the lander can stay on a surface that is basically melting into space. That time is dependent on a lot of factors - depth of "harpoons" ( harpoons, sure)penetration, placement on the comet, rotation of comet ( if any), speed of said rotation, rate of disintegration, etc. Could be fun !

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Harpoons, eh?

Is the comet white?

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Coat

Re: Harpoons, eh?

Yes and the person who designed the harpoon was called Ahab

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Re: Harpoons, eh?

and we may call him Ismael :)

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Wishing them good luck as well

Please keep us updated, El Reg. (as you always do)

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Three loops around Earth? I wondered why my days are getting longer!

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Anonymous Coward

So how long before the Comet lander overtakes voyager as the most distant human object?

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Boffin

Forever.

Rosetta will continue to loop around the Sun for the rest of time (or until it crashes into some other space object, or the Sun blows up). Voyager, on the other hand, is continuing to sail out furhter and further, and will put a growing distance between itself and Rosetta.

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The furthest point of the comet's orbit is approx 850 million kilometres from the sun. Voyager 1 is about 18,800 million km and Voyager 2 is 15,400 million km, so the two Voyagers are already much further than the little probe will ever get, assuming it stays attached to the comet on it's way past the sun.

Not to belittle what will be a pretty astounding achievement if they can pull off landing and staying attached.

(Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/67P/Churyumov%E2%80%93Gerasimenko

http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/weekly-reports/)

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Flame

Nothing yet.

How long is it supposed to take to warm up?

Edit Ahh!:

The spacecraft operations team are now at their stations in the Main Control Room here at the European Space Operations Centre, Darmstadt. Even though the signal is not expected until 17:30GMT at the earliest they are taking no chances.

Link to the Guardian live blog.

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