Beers all round
more of this sort of thing...
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 …
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.
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".
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!
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...
"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)
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.
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