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ESA Probe Lands On Comet But Trouble Strikes

November 13. 2014

Philae space probe descending on Comet 67P

The European Space Agency (ESA) grabbed headlines around the world as their historic Philae probe, apart of the Rosetta spacecraft, safely detached and landed on comet 67P yesterday. It is a fantastic project that was many years in the making. As I've stated on Twitter many times, I would love to go into space one day. There's so much to discover. I am a lover of science (see some of my science articles below).

My tweet

However, early yesterday morning before the comet landed, I stated on Twitter that I am of the belief, "There's something rare is in the comet." Several hours after my tweet, an announcement was made by ESA that the probe is having difficulty attaching to the comet, "Instead of harpooning itself to the surface after a seven-hour descent from mothership Rosetta, early radio signals suggest Philae could have settled in a soft surface or gently lifted off and then redescended."

Once again, I reiterate, I am of the belief, "There's something rare is in the comet." The contents thereof could be creating the attachment issues, repelling the probe. Either way, the mere fact the probe landed is a historic success. Congratulations.

STORY SOURCE

European probe lands on comet, fails to anchor

AFP 2 hours ago - Darmstadt (Germany) (AFP) - Europe made history Wednesday by placing the first-ever lander on a comet -- but the robot failed to anchor itself properly, raising concerns at ground control. The fridge-sized lab dubbed Philae touched down on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in a high-risk manoeuvre more than 510 million kilometres (320 million miles) from Earth, the European Space Agency (ESA) said.

But instead of harpooning itself to the surface after a seven-hour descent from mothership Rosetta, early radio signals suggest Philae could have settled in a soft surface or gently lifted off and then redescended. "So maybe today we didn't once, we even landed twice," Philae lander manager Stephan Ulamec quipped at ground control in Darmstadt, Germany a few hours after touchdown.

"Hopefully, we are sitting there on the surface at a position slightly different to the original landing and can continue our science." Several instruments onboard Philae had already sent back "plenty of data," he said. Engineers have yet to figure out what prevented the 100-kilo (220-pound) lander from shooting its duo of harpoons into the comet's surface to prevent it drifting away from its low-gravity host. Nor is its fate entirely clear. "Did we just land in a soft sandbox and everything is fine even though we are not anchored... or is there something else happening?" said Ulamec.

www.news.yahoo.com

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