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Comet lander: Philae sends data from surface


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Comet lander: Philae sends data from surface
By Jonathan Amos

The Philae lander on the distant comet 67P has re-established radio contact with its orbiting Rosetta satellite and is sending data from the surface.

It ends a tense wait for the European Space Agency (Esa), amid fears that the lander's battery was about to die.

Scientists will be most keen to see if the probe has managed to get a surface sample of the comet with its drill.

Philae descended to 67P on Wednesday - the first time such a feat has been achieved.

The probe has been sending pictures and other scientific data ever since, relayed by the Rosetta satellite.

Read More: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-30058176

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-- BBC 2014-11-14

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BBC news I heard live an hour ago : The lander is down and has started drilling for samples. Earlier, people had been worried the battery might not last.

Reality: The lander hit the ground, bounced several times and ended up on it's side in a unknown location in a hole or besides some boulders. The battery is already dead and they only got a few pictures before it shutdown. They hope it might come back online late next year when the sunlight is stronger.

There's nothing like accurate news, and the BBC is nothing like accurate news these days.

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Still a very incredible feat. I am amazed. It is not like trying to land on a smooth surface. I hope they can get it back up and running.

It sure is, but I can't help sensing we are all being duped as to the extent of the success.

When a scientist makes media comments like "It's like jumping from one bus to another at 35,000mph" you have start questioning everything else. It's all relative :if you are moving at the same speed in space, you might as well be standing still. I'm moving at 66,000mph through space on the earth - but I can step from one chair to another no problem.

Plus they are making tweets in the first person as if the lander is sending them itself. They know that probably half the world will believe the lander is actually using twitter.

It all seems a bit unprofessional and I think the real story is yet to be told. I think a large part of the media circus is to justify the funding and maybe attract some more for another go. This one cost 1.4 billion euros and both the nitrogen thrusters and the anchor harpoons failed !!!!.

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Still a very incredible feat. I am amazed. It is not like trying to land on a smooth surface. I hope they can get it back up and running.

It sure is, but I can't help sensing we are all being duped as to the extent of the success.

When a scientist makes media comments like "It's like jumping from one bus to another at 35,000mph" you have start questioning everything else. It's all relative :if you are moving at the same speed in space, you might as well be standing still. I'm moving at 66,000mph through space on the earth - but I can step from one chair to another no problem.

Plus they are making tweets in the first person as if the lander is sending them itself. They know that probably half the world will believe the lander is actually using twitter.

It all seems a bit unprofessional and I think the real story is yet to be told. I think a large part of the media circus is to justify the funding and maybe attract some more for another go. This one cost 1.4 billion euros and both the nitrogen thrusters and the anchor harpoons failed !!!!.

I think there is truth in what you say. This mission has shifted from science to PR since the lander first went dark. And I'm seeing too many people in Germany with forced grins and smiles on their faces. Unless there is tangible data from the drilling probe, which I hope is the case, this mission is a flub. Forget the so-called feats of maneuver to get to the asteroid, Nasa has been doing the same and better with deep system probes, while salvaging more out of them than was ever expected. Phlae is starting to underwhelm. A big pity. I was hoping for much, much more.

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Still a very incredible feat. I am amazed. It is not like trying to land on a smooth surface. I hope they can get it back up and running.

It sure is, but I can't help sensing we are all being duped as to the extent of the success.

When a scientist makes media comments like "It's like jumping from one bus to another at 35,000mph" you have start questioning everything else. It's all relative :if you are moving at the same speed in space, you might as well be standing still. I'm moving at 66,000mph through space on the earth - but I can step from one chair to another no problem.

Plus they are making tweets in the first person as if the lander is sending them itself. They know that probably half the world will believe the lander is actually using twitter.

It all seems a bit unprofessional and I think the real story is yet to be told. I think a large part of the media circus is to justify the funding and maybe attract some more for another go. This one cost 1.4 billion euros and both the nitrogen thrusters and the anchor harpoons failed !!!!.

I think there is truth in what you say. This mission has shifted from science to PR since the lander first went dark. And I'm seeing too many people in Germany with forced grins and smiles on their faces. Unless there is tangible data from the drilling probe, which I hope is the case, this mission is a flub. Forget the so-called feats of maneuver to get to the asteroid, Nasa has been doing the same and better with deep system probes, while salvaging more out of them than was ever expected. Phlae is starting to underwhelm. A big pity. I was hoping for much, much more.

Agree completely : as far as I can tell, the soil samples are really the whole point of the mission : to see if asteroids seeded life on earth. I think we more or less knew the rest of it already.

Fingers crossed that something can be salvaged when it's nearer the sun - but if it's on it's side then that too might be more face-saving PR. I just read on ESA's site that they claimed there was no scenario where the lander would not touch down safely ... typical arrogance. I worked on Ariane-5 and remember ESA would not consider the 2 main computers failing as an option (a double failure). Sure enough, when input data went out of range from an IMU they both shut down with the same software failure because they were both using the same data.

The science I like, the PR stunts and being treated like an simpleton I don't .....

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<snip>

Plus they are making tweets in the first person as if the lander is sending them itself. They know that probably half the world will believe the lander is actually using twitter.

It all seems a bit unprofessional and I think the real story is yet to be told. I think a large part of the media circus is to justify the funding and maybe attract some more for another go. This one cost 1.4 billion euros and both the nitrogen thrusters and the anchor harpoons failed !!!!.

While I understand you have a gripe at the mission reports - the criticism of the 'first person' tweets is a bit much.

These programs need to do PR, and to make them accessible to the general public. I have been following this story closely, and really don't see how the tweets are such an issue

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BBC news I heard live an hour ago : The lander is down and has started drilling for samples. Earlier, people had been worried the battery might not last.

Reality: The lander hit the ground, bounced several times and ended up on it's side in a unknown location in a hole or besides some boulders. The battery is already dead and they only got a few pictures before it shutdown. They hope it might come back online late next year when the sunlight is stronger.

There's nothing like accurate news, and the BBC is nothing like accurate news these days.

Well I can't say that your representation is any more accurate than theirs.

15 November 2014

Rosetta’s lander has completed its primary science mission after nearly 57 hours on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.

After being out of communication visibility with the lander since 09:58 GMT / 10:58 CET on Friday, Rosetta regained contact with Philae at 22:19 GMT /23:19 CET last night. The signal was initially intermittent, but quickly stabilised and remained very good until 00:36 GMT / 01:36 CET this morning.

In that time, the lander returned all of its housekeeping data, as well as science data from the targeted instruments, including ROLIS, COSAC, Ptolemy, SD2 and CONSERT. This completed the measurements planned for the final block of experiments on the surface.

In addition, the lander’s body was lifted by about 4 cm and rotated about 35° in an attempt to receive more solar energy. But as the last science data fed back to Earth, Philae’s power rapidly depleted.

“It has been a huge success, the whole team is delighted,” said Stephan Ulamec, lander manager at the DLR German Aerospace Agency, who monitored Philae’s progress from ESA’s Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, this week.

“Despite the unplanned series of three touchdowns, all of our instruments could be operated and now it’s time to see what we’ve got.”

<snip>

The next possible communication slot begins on 15 November at about 10:00 GMT / 11:00 CET. The orbiter will listen for a signal, and will continue doing so each time its orbit brings it into line-of-sight visibility with Philae. However, given the low recharge current coming from the solar panels at this time, it is unlikely that contact will be re-established with the lander in the near future.

http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Rosetta/Pioneering_Philae_completes_main_mission_before_hibernation

Edited by Chicog
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I was watching an interesting documentary on the whole thing last night.

Amazing to think that this is the culmination of 10 years of amazing work.

Apparently the state of the art digital cameras on board are 4MP because that was top of the range then!

And to think that nowadays you have phones with 41MP cameras.

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When a scientist makes media comments like "It's like jumping from one bus to another at 35,000mph" you have start questioning everything else. It's all relative :if you are moving at the same speed in space, you might as well be standing still. I'm moving at 66,000mph through space on the earth - but I can step from one chair to another no problem.

It's not as easy as it sounds. I know a few guys in Pattaya who can't make it from one barstool to the next without falling down.

Oh, and by the way, when do we find out what Hollywood set this has all been filmed on?

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European comet lander Philae “sniffed” organic molecules containing the carbon element that is the basis of life on Earth before its primary battery ran out and it shut down, German scientists said.


They said it was not yet clear whether they included the complex compounds that make up proteins. One of the key aims of the mission is to discover whether carbon-based compounds, and through them, ultimately, life, were brought to early Earth by comets.


<snip>


The COSAC gas analysing instrument on Philae was able to “sniff” the atmosphere and detect the first organic molecules after landing, the DLR German Aerospace Center said. The lander also drilled into the comet’s surface in its hunt for organic molecules, although it is unclear as yet whether Philae managed to deliver a sample to COSAC for analysis.


Also onboard the lander was the MUPUS tool to measure the density and thermal and mechanical properties of the comet’s surface. It showed the comet’s surface was not as soft as previously believed. A thermal sensor was supposed to be hammered around 40 centimetres into the surface but this did not occur, despite the hammer setting being cranked up to its highest level.


The DLR reckons that after passing through a 10- to 20-centimetre-thick layer of dust, the sensor hit a layer of material estimated to be as hard as ice. “It’s a surprise. We didn’t expect such hard ice on the ground,” Tilman Spohn, who leads the MUPUS team at the DLR, said in a statement on Tuesday.


Spohn said MUPUS could be used again if enough sunlight gets through to reload Philae’s batteries, which the scientists hope may happen as the comet approaches the sun.


http://www.theglobeandmail.com/technology/science/philae-probe-sniffed-organic-building-blocks-of-life-scientists-say/article21637153/



Edited by Chicog
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