back to article ESA finds FOURTH comet touchdown for Philae lander

The European Space Agency has conducted deeper analysis of just what happened to the Philae lander during its descent to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and now believes the craft bounced off the wandering rock three times, not twice as was previously thought to the be case. The new analysis re-tells the now-familiar story of …

  1. Ketlan
    Happy

    'ESA finds FOURTH comet touchdown for Philae lander'

    Is Philae made of rubber or what?

    1. Martin Budden Bronze badge
      Happy

      Re: 'ESA finds FOURTH comet touchdown for Philae lander'

      Quite the little space hopper!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 'ESA finds FOURTH comet touchdown for Philae lander'

      "Is Philae made of rubber or what?"

      More likely they just had my wife parking the lander. The comet's insurers will probably be in touch soon with an inflated repair bill, and out of this world hire-comet charges for the time whilst Churyumov-Gerasimenko is in the body shop.

  2. Mark 85 Silver badge

    All that spinning and bouncing and little Philae survived to do it's science. Once upon a time, that was called a crash landing but this is remarkable. I'm ready to believe the Little Lander That Could will charge it's batteries in the spring and come back to life.

    1. P. Lee

      I don't know if kerbal would allow that sort of inaccuracy, but it wouldn't cut it here: http://my.ign.com/atari/lunar-lander

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        Damn you P.Lee. There goes my afternoon...

      2. ilmari

        Well, Nasa pioneered skip aerobraking. Kerbals and ESA use skip lithobraking :)

  3. Crisp Silver badge

    You wait ten years for a comet touchdown...

    And then four come along at once.

  4. imanidiot Silver badge

    Amazing

    Its miraculous a complex device like Philea could travel 10 years through space, awaken, decent to the surface of a comet, bounce around several times and still function.

    Note though that ESA leaves nothing to chance. I've recently been talking with someone who constructed one of the experiments on Rosetta for ESA. The requirements are bonkers to say the least. 3 test articles are built, tested, rebuilt and retested repeatedly. All the while 2 people are looking over the shoulder of the engineer and documenting EVERYTHING. Every move, every screw, every torque is noted to perfect the building process and make sure it's assembled 1000% to spec. Make a mistake halfway through? Start over. Not just from the last step, but from the beginning. Often with mission critical parts being heavily inspected or even replaced in the process just to be sure.

  5. Terry Cloth
    Alien

    Was Philae able to stabilize itself in any way?

    The 13-second to 24-second rotation change by sideswipe suggests not. In that case, how the hell did it happen to land shiny side up? Pure luck? Alien intervention?

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Was Philae able to stabilize itself in any way?

      "...how the hell did it happen to land shiny side up? Pure luck? Alien intervention?"

      Buttered Cat module....

      1. TheRealRoland
        Happy

        Re: Was Philae able to stabilize itself in any way?

        nah, it has to do with the fact that the lander was so many 'table-heights' away from the surface of the comet :-)

        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2410532/Why-toast-falls-butter-Scientists-finally-uncover-reason--height-table.html

        Time for a new unit?

        1. Martin
          FAIL

          Daily Mail Science Tech?

          An oxymoron if ever I heard one.

          1. TheRealRoland

            Re: Daily Mail Science Tech?

            Nice find, right? :-)

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