Monday 20 January 2014
The first landing in Europe, with a mini laboratory on a comet is approaching. After a “low-power sleep” of 957 days, the space probe “Rosetta” is active again. The ESA control center receives the decisive signal that the probe is awake again.
comet probe “Rosetta” has woken up after years of “hibernation”. “Rosetta” is ready for use, reported the European Space Agency in the evening. “Hello, world!” Tweeted the ESA in allusion to the sent of “Rosetta” to the ground signal. A webcast showed cheering scientists at the control center in Darmstadt.
“waking up” from “Rosetta” is a milestone for the spectacular comet mission of ESA. After more than ten years in space, the probe in the summer to reach the comet 67P/Tschurjumov-Gerasimenko. “Rosetta” is then pivot into an orbit around the comet and settle the lander “Philae” on the four-kilometer chunk of ice, frozen gas and dust in November.
From the mission launched in 2004, the researchers hope to draw conclusions about the composition of comets, which are regarded as remnants in the formation of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago.
The automatic alarm event for the instruments on board the 810 million kilometers from Earth probe had begun in the morning. The scientists had to wait more than eight anxious hours until “Rosetta” eventually sparked the awaited signal. “It was the picture-perfect end of a difficult chapter,” said ESA.
First rendezvous with a comet
space scientists compare the project with the moon landing in 1969. It would be the first time that a probe landing on a comet. An asteroid was already 2005 Target Japanese space probe “Hayabusa”. You landed on “Itokawa” and brought them five years later soil samples to Earth.
“Philae” but a different fate is bestowed, for in August 2015 Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko will be in its orbit closest to the sun. Then it gets too hot for the landed on him “Philae”. Scientists think that this means the end for the lander. Your purpose fulfilled the mission yet, because if “Philae” has landed, “he had done a few days later his service,” said the researchers.
“The most delicate is the landing itself,” says Stephan Ulamec, the “Philae” project at the German Aerospace Center (DLR). “We do not know whether the surface of the comet is soft or hard.” Landed therefore is also quite slow in November. “We will try to avoid a collision.”
systems must be hot
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Waking “Rosetta” is to be compared with the startup of a computer, says Esa-flight director Paolo Ferri. That she’s been such a long time in space, has a reason: “Rosetta” must get enough pace to catch up with the flurry of comets. 800 million km is “Rosetta” is currently removed from the earth. Up to the comet, it is – for space ratios – with nine million kilometers, not too far
When the mission as planned, will end in December 2015 “Rosetta” 7.1 billion kilometers were flown. The wake-up call for the lander “Philae” by the way is according to the DLR for 28 March planned.