Tuesday, 11 November 2014

How to Watch the Comet Landing!

On the 12th of November the European Space Agency will make the first ever attempt to land a space probe on a comet. If all goes to plan, the Rosetta orbiter will deploy the Philae lander into a seven-hour drift onto the surface of Comet 67P  Churyumov–Gerasimenko.  I'll do a full blog after the event, but here's some hopefully useful bits and pieces to follow the high point of the Rosetta mission:

The first port of call is the ESA Livestream, where all the major events will be shown and new data announced. If I've made this work right, it should be playing above this paragraph. It can also be found (along with lots of other stuff) on the Rosetta homepage.

Timeline of Philae's seven-hour descent onto Comet 67P. The signal from a successful touchdown should arrive at or after 4pm GMT. Click on the image to enlarge. Image Credit: ESA 
Above are the key points in the landing sequence. A much more detailed version is available here.

Image of Philae's targeted landing site, known as Agilkia. Image Credit: ESA
A bit of a wider view: The image above shows the target landing site on the "head" of Comet 67P. It's been named  Agilka, after an island in the River Nile where the temple from the island of Philae was moved to avoid flooding caused by the building of a dam. Philae was the place where the Rosetta Stone was found.

Apart from the ESA Livestream, the best place to stay up to date with the landing is proably Twitter. I will be tweeting updates and my feed should hopefully be appearing below this paragraph. You should also have a look at #CometLanding.

Good luck Philae!

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