back to article Swansong for Rosetta as it lands on the duck-shaped comet

It has been an epic journey, much more than 12 years in the making, but Rosetta has gone out in a blaze of glory. The final commands were uploaded to the spacecraft mid-morning on September 29 – and now there is no going back. Rosetta was programmed to touch down on comet 67P some time in the late morning of September 30. It …

  1. Paul Woodhouse

    Beers all round

    totally deserved...

    more of this sort of thing...

  2. Jedit Silver badge
    Joke

    "The final commands were uploaded on September 29 – and now there is no going back"

    Indeed. The results are in, and Comet 67P will leave the EU.

    Joking aside, it's a mark of how far space navigation has come that Rosetta bounced a bit on a comet but landed fundamentally intact. It's not all that many years since we were making new craters on Mars.

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: "The final commands were uploaded on September 29 – and now there is no going back"

      Mars gravity is a bit less forgiving than a comet one... yet the Philae landing was a spectacular *failure* - no landing device worked as designed - had they worked, but the assumptions turned out wrong, i.e. a different surface hardness, OK, but they all utterly failed, instead.

      It didn't make a crater and bounced just because of the low gravity. If it was a NASA lander everybody would have laughed, ESA PR was very good at turning it into something alike a a "success".

      1. A K Stiles Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: "The final commands were uploaded on September 29 – and now there is no going back"

        Except that it was reported before they even got to the comet that the mission was Rosetta, and Philae was an added extra - if it woke up it was a bonus, if it made contact with the comet, that was a bonus, if it stuck, a bonus, if it did any of the science another bonus.

        Okay, so the harpoons didn't launch and the cold-gas thruster didn't work either. After 10 years in space and ending up in a non-optimal location and attitude they STILL managed to do a whole bunch of bonus science thanks to the stuff that DID work on the lander.

        If that's a failure, then I look forward to them continuing to similarly fail so spectacularly on future probe missions!

        1. LDS Silver badge

          Re: "The final commands were uploaded on September 29 – and now there is no going back"

          Yes, even Beagle 2 was an "extra", another failure, as Huygens was an half failure due to the software error which resulted in losing half the data. No much luck with landers, it looks...

          Anyway, Philae with its in-situ analysis of a comet, would have been the real breakthrough. Other probes already encountered comets, even if they didn't orbit them. Yes, after the failure it became just an "extra", before it was the much hyped objective.

          Again, NASA is not forgiven any failure, ESA is OK because it delivers the usual little bunch of"valuable data" even after big failures for which someone should be accountable for (it's still taxpayers money...). Ten years in space? The systems should have been designed for it. If they failed, someone made a mistake. And if nobody is accountable, if failures becomes "successes", mistakes will happen again.

          It's ESA is able to have friendly press because nobody wants to kill the golden eggs chicken - ESA is a big buyers from EU aerospace companies, most of them heavily backed by governments, and with executives and many other people designated by them - so better not to ask someone to be accountable for failures, it could break the equilibrium...

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: "The final commands were uploaded on September 29 – and now there is no going back"

      "Indeed. The results are in, and Comet 67P will leave the EU."

      No, no, no. It's now been annexed by our space faring robotic EU overlords so is now properly part of the EU. I, for one, welcome them (next time it comes around)

  3. ratfox Silver badge
    Angel

    So...

    Do you think we deflected it?

    1. petur
      Pint

      Re: So...

      Assuming you didn't copy your joke from http://xkcd.com/1740/ ...

  4. HkraM
    Thumb Up

    This mission has been a great success and I've followed its progress for years. Lets hope we can have more discoveries like these.

    Often forgotten is the fact that Rosetta wasn't originally going to visit 67P but comet 46P/Wirtanen instead. But after an Ariane 5 ECA self-destructed in December 2002, Rosetta's planned launch the following month was postponed and a new target had to be found; Rosetta launched over a year later than originally planned.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Rosetta wasn't originally going to visit 67P but comet 46P/Wirtanen instead.

      And thank goodness for the change of target.

      Because for all we know, 46P/Wirtanen might not be duck shaped.

      1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

        Conspiracy theory alert

        They had to stage that 'failure' when they found out 46P/Wirtanen is in fact penis shaped.

  5. Novex

    Adding my congratulations

    Just a me too post to add my congratulations to the team, well done.

    Now, what's next? ;-)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is this where someone asks whether I'd rather fight one comet-sized duck or ten duck-sized comets ?...

    1. imanidiot Silver badge

      Easy

      10 duck sized comets, as they are unlikely to make it through the atmosphere. one comet sized duck is going to wreak havoc. One angry duck sized duck can already poze a problem, never mind one larger.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's an antimatter space duck from another galaxy. There can be no other explanation.

  7. GilT
    Devil

    Cat

    The picture of the comet associated with this article looks like a pissed off mud covered cat glaring back at you over it's left shoulder.

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