back to article BOING, BOING! Philae BOUNCED TWICE on Comet 67P

It almost sounds like a cartoon from the 1950s: The Philae lander, which on 12 November had a successful rendezvous with Comet 67P after being released by the Rosetta spacecraft, bounced not once but twice, before finally settling on the surface of the space-rock. As reported quite soon after the landing, the boffins in charge …

  1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Alien

    Quiet!

    Nobody sneeze!

  2. John Robson Silver badge

    More remarkable?

    You can't get much more remarkable - although the failure of the harpoons AND thruster may have cancelled each other out somewhat

  3. big_D Silver badge

    Renaissance

    I can see a bunch of Lunar Lander clones being released in the next few days.

    1. Paw Bokenfohr

      Re: Renaissance

      There's been one on the BBC News web site for a while ;-)

  4. Kharkov
    Thumb Up

    Anyone read Terry Pratchett's Strata?

    "The crow hung on to the oxygen handle like grim death, and thought about survival."

    A two-hour bounce brings it home just how incredibly weak the gravity is on a ten-billion ton comet. Let's hope it's now safely screwed down (let me be the first to say it, ooh err!) or else it'll be taking another trip once it gets closer to the sun and the outgassing starts

    Could someone insert a clip from Bruce Willis' Armageddon please?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Escape velocity of 1m/s - tilt head up when nose tickles...

      By schoolboy maths if I let an apple roll off my head it would take 60 seconds to reach the ground (though with so little gravity it probably wouldn't even roll; hardly any friction). A truly weird place - and striking how it looks exactly like the proverbial "dirty snowball"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Escape velocity of 1m/s - tilt head up when nose tickles...

        "striking how it looks exactly like the proverbial "dirty snowball""

        Well, I wouldn't read too much into that if I were you. They've been tinkering massively with contrast and stuff to make the pictures pretty and intelligible. Apparently in RealLife(tm) it looks like a lump of coal, but that makes it quite tricky to pick out details.

  5. lnLog

    n+1, no?

    enable pedant mode;

    2x bounce = touchdown 3x

    pedant mode off...

    waiting to see how well the drills worked with bugger all pushing it on to the surface... maybe its now up on stilts.

    1. Ossi

      Re: n+1, no?

      The tweet says '3 landings'.

  6. Anonymous Blowhard

    Typical!

    You wait ten years for a comet landing, and then three come along at once!

  7. Sealand

    Dude, I'm a comet. Do you even have a landing permit?

    "Without the harpoons, the lander is probably anchored by the ice-screw legs that were designed to drill into the surface"

    Umm ... the word 'probably' in that sentence is slightly disturbing.

    The thrusters didn't fire and the harpoons didn't launch. Maybe the lander is standing tall on the tips of the extended screws.

    Man, I can't wait to see a selfie from Philae, so we can see what's going on out there.

    1. Elmer Phud Silver badge

      Re: Dude, I'm a comet. Do you even have a landing permit?

      "The thrusters didn't fire and the harpoons didn't launch. Maybe the lander is standing tall on the tips of the extended screws."

      They used the other option of gaffa tape and cable ties.

      1. Sealand
        Go

        Re: Dude, I'm a comet. Do you even have a landing permit?

        "They used the other option of gaffa tape and cable ties"

        Oh. the lander is perfectly safe, then.

        The whole thruster-harpoon-screws-because-this-is-very-difficult story does sound better at a press conference, though.

    2. SW10
      Holmes

      Re: Dude, I'm a comet. Do you even have a landing permit?

      The thrusters didn't fire and the harpoons didn't launch. Maybe the lander is standing tall on the tips of the extended screws.

      They didn't engage first time, they didn't engage the second time why would they engage third time?

      Unless the landing surface was different on the third occasion, it is surely standing on tip-toes?

      1. EddieD
        Pint

        Re: Dude, I'm a comet. Do you even have a landing permit?

        Depends how the screws were setup - if they reach a limit of extension, they yes, probably - if though, like a corkscrew, they can freely rotate even extended, they there is a possibilty of pulling Philae down.

        Hmm.

        I've got a corkscrew, it's gone 10am*, perhaps I should try this empirically...

        *Bizarre Scots off-sales laws.

        ⇨ closest availble ⇨

    3. DropBear Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Dude, I'm a comet. Do you even have a landing permit?

      Dude, I'm a comet. Do you even have a landing permit?

      So what if I don't...? Screw you!

    4. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Dude, I'm a comet. Do you even have a landing permit?

      Umm ... the word 'probably' in that sentence is slightly disturbing.

      Since Philae reportedly sank 4cm into the surface, even at it's gentle landing speed, I'd be more concerned about the word 'anchored'. Ice-screws aren't going to get much of a grip if the surface is like dry ash. Still, they only have 3 days of battery life [insert iWatch joke here], so they'll have to get cracking with something, whatever the risk. Whatever happens, even getting this far is amazing, though.

  8. MacroRodent Silver badge

    Uh!

    A real nail-biter! Can't wait to get more on the lander status. There is supposed to be a press conference about 2.5h from now.

  9. Paul Kinsler

    ok...

    ... who let an Australian onto the design team?

  10. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Trollface

    EU rules

    This is brilliant stuff. What a great advertisement for European cooperation and unity.

    {Troll icon in case any UKippers are reading this}

    1. The Axe

      Re: EU rules

      UKIP is against the EU controlling the UK, not against cooperation and trade between EU states.

      1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

        Re: EU rules

        UKIP is against the EU controlling the UK

        I sure wish someone would control our government.

        1. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
          Terminator

          Re: EU rules

          Someone is. But it's not the people.

  11. trance gemini
    Coat

    Shirley ...

    ... there's some humour to be had from a washing-machine-sized-robot taking ten years to get to a Comet ...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Shirley ...

      And the machine had to be returned twice to [the] Comet because of multiple faults.

  12. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Sorry, still got images of Captain Scarlett "Moon Hoopers" ...

  13. kbb

    Reg units

    Auntie Beeb says the probe is "the size of a washing machine". Is that an officially sanctioned Reg unit?

    1. Sealand

      Re: Reg units

      Nope.

      In another thread yesterday I suggested that in El Reg units, the lander may be the size of a hectograpefruit.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ice, ice screws, Philae?

    Any tiny marine creatures?

    Philae o fish!

    RUNS AWAY....

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ooh!

    http://www.esa.int/spaceinimages/Images/2014/11/Welcome_to_a_comet

    1. Sealand
      Pint

      Re: ooh!

      Well said.

  16. lorisarvendu

    Spaaaace!

    First the Apollo Moon Landings, then Viking, Opportunity, Curiousity, Mars Global Surveyor...now we've landed on a friggin' comet! God I love living in the 21st Century!

    1. Stuart 22

      Re: Spaaaace!

      Space travel, manned space travel, landings, manned landings, heavy lift rockets, re-usable spacecraft, space stations are all 20C. That when real progress happened. We have just been finnessing it since and going backwards in some ways.

      But bouncing washing machines on ice is a first. And flowery shirts beats flares so I'm happy today.

      1. lorisarvendu

        Re: Spaaaace!

        "Space travel, manned space travel, landings, manned landings, heavy lift rockets, re-usable spacecraft, space stations are all 20C"

        Correct but as I said I'm not living in the 20th Century, I'm living in the 21st! I don't care if I haven't got my jet pack or my flying car, I can see photos from a surface that isn't Earth so I'm happy too.

  17. Paul Johnston
    Pint

    Crack the beers!

    Excellent job folks!

    Isn't science great :-)

  18. Eddy Ito Silver badge

    It's understandable, Philae gave the comet a couple of kisses as a little foreplay before getting to the serious screwing.

    1. Kharkov
      Coffee/keyboard

      Damn you, Eddy!

      You owe me a new keyboard, you bar-steward! Literally, I had a mouthful of coffee when I read that.

      An upvote, sir!

      And you could probably note that the screwing only happens after the third... bounce.

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