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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Photo #Comet HISTORIC DAY, WE JUST LANDED ON A COMET, The Rosetta Lander

HISTORIC DAY, WE JUST LANDED ON A COMET, The Rosetta Lander Imaging System (ROLIS) on Philae took this picture three kilometres above the surface as the craft descended. I have just sat down with Alvaro Giménez Cañete, Esa director of science and robotic exploration, to talk about the landing and the glitches that have appeared. He started by summing up the day: It has been a lot of excitement, a lot of doubt, a lot of work but now it is good. I was more hesitant about the wake-up (which took place back in January). Then if we didn’t get a signal, we didn’t have anything. Here we got a signal. Of course, we could always lose the signal but we are in contact with Philae, and so you have a different feeling.

Philae was expected to touchdown at walking pace but the telemetry received so far shows that the landing was softer than expected. This was probably a good thing, as it seems that the anchoring harpoons did not fire. Another problem is that the communications link between the lander and Rosetta keep dropping for unknown reasons.

Giménez is philosophical about these turns of events. We have some glitches but we are now landed. The glitches in telemetry are just like normal work for us. It is natural and we have to work with it. When I press him a little on this unexpected turn of events, he remains completely calm. I’m confident it will work. As far as I am concerned this is business as normal. People just need to keep calm. As I always tell them, if it is a real problem then you need to be calm, if it’s no problem then you don’t have to worry.

The analysis into the harpoons and the telemetry glitches continues.
David Perger nice :D

  • Jo Stapleton Cool!

  • Joel D'souza congrats ESA !

  • Teresa Ayer Great post!

  • Jason Rubin So amazing!
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