Rosetta Makes Histroy!

Philae Seperates from Rosetta and lands on Comet 67P/C-G!

Separation was confirmed at ESA’s Space Operation Centre, ESOC, in Darmstadt, Germany at 09:03 GMT / 10:03 CET. It takes the radio signals from the transmitter on Rosetta 28 minutes and 20 seconds to reach Earth, so separation actually occurred in space at 08:35 GMT / 09:35 CET.

Comet 7P/C-G. (ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA)

Comet 7P/C-G. (ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA)

The descent to the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko will take around seven hours, during which the lander will take measurements of the environment around the comet. It will also take images of the final moments of descent.

The Rosetta mission will orbit 67P/C-G for 17 months and is designed to complete the most detailed study of a comet ever attempted.

The image shows comet 67P/CG acquired by the ROLIS instrument on the Philae lander during descent on Nov 12, 2014 14:38:41 UT from a distance of approximately 3 km from the surface. The landing site is imaged with a resolution of about 3m per pixel.(Credii: ESA)

The image shows comet 67P/CG acquired by the ROLIS instrument on the Philae lander during descent on Nov 12, 2014 14:38:41 UT from a distance of approximately 3 km from the surface. The landing site is imaged with a resolution of about 3m per pixel.(Credii: ESA)

The spacecraft consists of two main elements: the Rosetta space probe orbiter, which features 12 instruments, and the Philae robotic lander, with an additional nine instruments.

Philae's landing site isn't perfect, but it's as close as the ESA could get. (ESA)

Philae’s landing site isn’t perfect, but it’s as close as the ESA could get. (ESA)

The Rosetta mission achieved a significant milestone by becoming the first mission to rendezvous with a comet.  Rosetta is the first spacecraft to orbit a comet nucleus, and is the first spacecraft to fly alongside a comet as it heads towards the inner Solar System. It will be the first spacecraft to examine at close proximity how a frozen comet is transformed by the warmth of the Sun.

Rosetta’s OSIRIS narrow-angle camera captured this parting shot of the Philae lander after separation. (Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA)

Rosetta’s OSIRIS narrow-angle camera captured this parting shot of the Philae lander after separation. (Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA)

The Rosetta orbiter is the first to dispatch a robotic lander for the first controlled touchdown on a comet nucleus. (Credit: Wiki, ESA)

 Philae’s shot of its mothership shortly after separation. Photograph: ESA/Handout/ESA/Handout/Corbis

Philae’s shot of its mothership shortly after separation. (Credit: ESA/Handout/ESA/Handout/Corbis)

“This is a big step for human civilization,” said ESA director Jean-Jacques Dordain. “The biggest problem with success is it looks easy.”

(Credit ESA)

(Credit ESA)

“How audacious! How exciting! How unbelievable!” said Dr. Jim Green, Director of the Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters.

(Credit: NASA)

(Credit: ESA, NASA)

“According to Stephan Ulamec, Philae Lander Manager, DLR, the lander team believe that Philae may have bounced from the surface and settled again in a slightly different place.

Engineers know that the anchoring harpoons did not fire. It is also known that the communications link to Rosetta failed intermittently in an irregular pattern shortly after the landing but always immediately re-established itself.

However, science data has been received and is currently being processed, but the promised first panorama from the surface has not been released.

Rosetta is now out of touch with Philae as the orbiter has dipped below the horizon of the comet. The link to Philae was lost a little earlier than expected but this is probably because a hill or boulder was in the way of the line of sight.

Right now, Philae should be working through its first automatic sequence of science experiments. Contact will be re-established through Rosetta later tonight, and the data downlinked.

There will also be more telemetry to assist the engineers in understanding the exact sequence of events during the landing.

We will know more tomorrow.” (Credit: S. Clark, J. Kingsland)

 

via ESA, The Guardian

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