Monday, November 17, 2014

Rosetta/Philae Comet Landing Pictures

Unless you've been living in a cave, you've likely heard about the recent spacecraft that landed on a comet.  Normally you'd think of this as a NASA accomplishment, but it was actually the European Space Agency (ESA).  The Rosetta spacecraft launched in March of 2004, did a flyby of a couple of asteroids, began to orbit the comet (67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko) in May of this year, and then on November 12, 2014, successfully landed a probe, named Philae, onto the surface of the comet.

This is an amazing accomplishment, something that had never been done before!  The harpoons to latch onto the comet did not work correctly, and the probe bounced upon landing, but was able to successfully come online, take picture, and send those pictures back to Earth!  AMAZING!!!  There's concerns that the probe is in a place where it won't receive enough energy through the solar panels to do much more, but nonetheless, this is a hugely successful mission!  It just goes to show you that humans can do amazing things when they work together!

Sit down with your kids and show them some of the pictures that are coming back from Philae.  They are simply amazing and show us the details of a comet's surface at a resolution never before seen!

Rosetta/Philae Mission Page

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