Ten Years, 3.98 Billion Miles

November 12, 2014 at 3:13 PM Leave a comment

Philae via wikipedia

Philae (Image Wikipedia)

My brain is incapable of fathoming the mathematical calculation necessary to make it so a rocket that launched from Earth ten years ago and traveled 3.98 billion miles was able to rendezvou with a piece of rock the size of Lower Manhattan traveling at something like 47,000 miles an hour, and drop a probe (little ol’ Philae) the size of a washing machine on to it.
My mind is officially blown.

The Rosetta satellite and its probe payload arrived at the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko Aug. 6 after 10 years, five months, and four days in space. Rosetta traveled 6.4 billion kilometers (3.98 billion miles) on its journey and orbited the sun five times.

The distance 510 million kilometers (317 million miles) between the comet and Earth means the ESA did not know for 28 minutes and 20 seconds whether or not the landing was successful.


Apparently the anchors that were supposed to fire and embed themselves in the comet did not fire so engineers are working on what to do about that but still, What.  An.  Amazing.  Feat.



Entry filed under: Science.

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