Monday, November 17, 2014
Rosetta, the comet chaser
During the past 10 years European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft was on a journey of 6.4 billion KM from the Earth bound for comet 67P, which hurtles away at 15KM per second and is situated 500 million miles from earth. The project was the first of its kind to reach its destination. It was launched on board a rocket. It had solar cells to provide electric power, its ‘orbiter’ carried 15 experiments and the ‘lander’ probes called Philae carried drills to sample beneath the comet’s surface. On th 12th November 2014 Rosetta landed on Comet 67P which hurtles at 15 KM per sec. The craft got its name from the Rosetta stone of ancient Egyptians, which had hieroglyphics, carved on it revealing the history of Pharaohs. The present Rosetta hopes to discover the secrets of the solar system including the origin of planet Earth. Scientists celebrate this landing on one star while other stars watch us. Switzerland made the space watch capable of spanning 10 years.
Comet 67P chosen for landing Rosetta
Rosetta with its landing gear
Rosetta bounced twice before settling down and stabilized finally, I KM from expected site of landing and settled at the edge of a crater unfortunately, a place where it will not receive direct sunlight to charge its solar cells. Rosetta sent a tweet, ‘I’ll tell you more about my new home, comet 67P soon.’ A lot of data has now come from it but the cells need charging and it said in another tweet, ‘I am very sleepy’.
Sleep well little probe!
What scientists learn from Rosetta will rewrite textbooks.
· Origin of man’s space program goes back to 1st Oct 1957 when Soviet Russia launched the first satellite Sputnik into outer space.
· Americans felt humiliated but they reached the moon, 384000 KM from earth with Apollo 14 on 20th July 1069 when Neil Armstrong walked the moon.
· Few years later on 20- 07- 1976 the American probe Viking 1 travelled 100 million KM landing on Mars, the red planet.
· In 2005 the European probe Pagine, went 10 times as far, more than 1.3 billion KM to Saturn’s moon Titan.
And now to crown it all Rosetta is safely landed on Comet67P in November 2014 and once it faces the sun again its solar cells will recharge and send us valuable information even of the origins of life, so the scientists think.
Put together by ZitaPereraSubasinghe from programmes on Euro News and BBC Radio website Ref: What is a comet