Science is amazing
And yet the main stream media is full of cleb tattle tale and rumour.
Look to the stars!
No, not those ones.
The European Space Agency's Rosetta probe has sent back the first two aligned images of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the comet it has been chasing for ten years and nearly 800 million kilometres. Rosetta comet picture - wide angle Wide angle, tiny target ... that spec is what the ESA is trying to land on The Rosetta mission …
I utterly condemn the European intentions to illegitimately invade an independent and undefended comet. I call on ESA to immediately de-escalate the situation and to guarantee the territorial integrity of this and all other independent celestial bodies.
Oh, crap, I think I just posted to the wrong website...
When I read the article, my thoughts turned to a science fiction story I read donkey's years ago - but I can't remember who it was by or what it was called, nor whether it was a novel in its own right, or a short story in an anthology.
A manned mission lands on a comet (whether that the mission was something else and circumstances forced them to land, I don't know). When down, they found some kind of 'totem pole' on the comet, that appeared to have been built by different landing parties on the comet - different alien civilisations having landed there, and left their mark.
If you just do the math, 800m/s isn't quite enough to travel 5 million km between now and the end of May. The ESA press release says the differential speed will be 800m/s then, but it's probably more like 1000m/s or a bit more just now. It'll apparently get less as the two trajectories of the comet and Rosie come closer to intersection. Orbital mechanics does that to you at times.
Still, there's quite a bit of braking required to slow from about 150 times the average speed of a London double decker bus to more like the walking pace of a Welsh sheep.
Obligatory Monty Python -
Just remember that you're standing on a planet that's evolving
And revolving at nine hundred miles an hour,
That's orbiting at nineteen miles a second, so it's reckoned,
A sun that is the source of all our power.
The sun and you and me and all the stars that we can see
Are moving at a million miles a day
In an outer spiral arm, at forty thousand miles an hour,
Of the galaxy we call the 'Milky Way'.
"the plucky probe is just five million kilometers away from its quarry and should reach it by May this year."
Ermmm - the video suggests that a slow down to match speed starts in May but that it will arrive at the comet in August, not May. In fact, you suggest the same later in the article.
Preferably one with 5G. What's needed is Extra-terrestrial* PORN to kickstart the Interstellar Broadband Network**.
Just 1 second to download a complete movie, such as "Earth Girls Are Easy" (1988)
* stop sniggering in the back there
** hopefully this comment will not be picked up by David Cameron's Special Advisors - else funding for an Interstellar Broadband Network will no doubt be in one of his speeches. In which case he would expect that it would be German know-how that would build it.
Right now, the probe is approaching the comet with the speed of a relative coming to see the newly rich and famous cousin who is coming to the family reunion.
Soon, it will be approaching the comet with the speed of a son returning home from university over Christmas break to do his laundry.
This summer, its relative speed will be that of an old married guy going to see his mother-in-law.
You see, it's relatives all the way down.
They should have thought about putting some steerable thrusters on the lander to bring the rock into orbit around Terra. Play with it as much as they like then for years on end rather than be stuck with the limited instruments on board for a limited time.
But I'm just an enthusiast with no technical knowledge of this awesomery. Just landing the damn thing on a comet puts my night approach to LAX on Flight Simulator X to shame.
Yep, and as you might have guessed by the Kerbal comment earlier, I've been watching the development of the officially-done-with-NASA-and-everything asteroid recovery mission pack for KSP, where the idea is to try and replicate what NASA are planning with your own crazy rocket construction ideas. Want. Oh do so much want.
And if you've never played or even know about Kerbal Space Program, where the hell have you been? Go. Find it. Play it. Enjoy the rocket surgery. Oh, and the inevitable explosions and rapid unplanned disassembly.
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