Author Topic: A spacecraft launched in 2004 hibernated for 3 years, Wake's up Today  (Read 2243 times)

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Offline Sub5

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A spacecraft launched in 2004 hibernated for 3 years, Wake's up Today.
Wake up Rosetta! Landmark mission to take comet-chasing spacecraft out of three-year hibernation begins

1. Rosetta spacecraft aims to better understand the composition of comets
2. It launched in 2004 and has since travelled around the sun five times
3.  Probe has been hibernating for most of the past three years to save power
4. The spacecraft's alarm sounded at 10am this morning, but it is expected to take seven hours for it to power up and send a signal back to Earth
5. The probe will land on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko in November
6. Scientists hope the mission will provide more clues about how the solar system came into existence.

A much-anticipated alarm has sounded to wake up the Rosetta probe from its deep space slumber.

The comet-chasing spacecraft was due to wake from an almost three-year hibernation at 10am this morning (5am EST) and phone home to say all is well.

But astronomers are in for a nail-biting wait as the spacecraft's systems will take several hours to power up and the signal has to travel more than 500 million miles (800 million km) back to Earth.

Rosetta was launched in 2004 and has since travelled around the sun five times, picking up energy from Earth and Mars to line it up with Comet 67P. This infographic shows Rosetta's journey. Prior to the wake up call, the probe carried out a series of orbits to slingshot itself towards its target


The probe will rendezvous with comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in the coming months and drop a space lander onto its icy surface in November.

Ground control teams hope to have confirmation of Rosetta's resuscitation by 6.30pm (1:30pm EST), the space agency said.

'We don't know the status of the spacecraft,' said Paolo Ferri, head of mission operations at ESA.

'There is a possibility that we're not going to hear anything.

'We've taken all possible precautions for this not to happen but of course we cannot exclude that problems may have happened.'


Employees work in the control room of ESA in Darmstadt, Germany. Because the spacecraft's systems will take hours to power up and the signal has to travel more than 500 million miles (800 million km) back to Earth, scientists will not see the first sign of before early evening



A scientist is pictured here with an airworthy copy of space probe Rosetta. Manoeuvres designed for the actual space probe are simulated with the replica

The spacecraft, which carries a 220lb (100 kg) lander called Philae, has been hibernating for most of the past three years to save power.

It is due to reach a 2.4-mile (4 km) diameter comet called 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in August.

Unlike previous comet probes, Rosetta won't just sail by. The spacecraft is designed to put itself into orbit around 67P for more than a year of close-up studies.

Comets are believed to be the pristine leftover remains from the formation of the solar system some 4.6 billion years ago.

This is the image that scientists are waiting to see. The spike in the middle will tell ESA if Rosetta is awake. This screenshot is from an earlier simulation and is expected to be seen later today when Rosetta sends its radio signal 807 million km across our solar system to Earth


Scientists hope the mission will provide more clues about how the solar system came into existence, much like the Rosetta Stone - after which the spacecraft is named - provided a blueprint for deciphering ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs.

‘Rosetta should become a key element for our understanding of the history of the solar system,’ Stephan Ulamec, a Rosetta project manager, said in an interview with Reuters last month.

Scientists believe the spacecraft’s startrackers are now beginning to warm up, taking around six hours.

Its thrusters will fire to stop the slow rotation. A slight adjustment will be made to Rosetta’s orientation to ensure that the solar arrays are still facing directly towards the sun, before the star trackers are switched on to determine the spacecraft’s attitude.

Once that has been established, Rosetta will turn directly towards Earth, switch on its transmitter and point its high-gain antenna to send its signal to announce that it is awake.

Because of Rosetta’s vast distance, it will take 45 minutes for the signal to reach the ground stations.

Deep space tracking dishes will be listening out for the signal, starting with Nasa’s 70 m-diameter station at Goldstone, California, followed by, as the Earth rotates, the Canberra station in eastern Australia.


For the coldest, loneliest leg of the mission, as Rosetta travelled out towards the orbit of Jupiter, the spacecraft was put into deep-space hibernation


Scientists believe the spacecraft's star trackers are now beginning to warm up, taking around six hours. Its thrusters will fire to stop the slow rotation. A slight adjustment will be made to Rosetta's orientation to ensure that the solar arrays are still facing directly towards the sun

Source: dailymail 









« Last Edit: January 20, 2014, 05:55:13 PM by Sub5 »



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Offline Sub5

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Re: A spacecraft launched in 2004 hibernated for 3 years, Wake's up Today
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2014, 06:01:44 PM »
One of Rosetta's first tasks will be to scout for a suitable landing location for its piggyback-riding Philae probe.

Scientists are particularly keen to conduct organic chemistry experiments on samples drilled out from inside the comet's body.

‘It would be really interesting to find out whether the organic chemistry that is relevant for life is there on comets,’ Professor Ulamec said.

Engineers who designed the lander did not know what type of terrain they would find on the comet's surface.

It is outfitted with twin harpoons laced with tethers that will be fired into the comet's surface to anchor Philae and keep it from bouncing back into space after touchdown.


The spacecraft will be involved a high-speed chase later this year followed by a delicate dance around comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Pictured is an artist's impression of the comet

 Read more: Space in Videos - ESA Live
                   Wake up, Rosetta!


Offline Sub5

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Update: Rosetta Comet landing Successful - Making History
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2014, 07:41:05 PM »
Update: Rosetta Comet landing Successful - Making History.
The Philae probe has landed on the surface of a comet, scientists from the European Space Agency (ESA) announced Wednesday.

It is the first time a soft landing has been achieved on a comet.

However, project scientists believe anchors that hold the probe to the surface failed to work properly and are now trying to find out why, according to ESA tweets.

ESA lander system engineer Laurence O'Rourke told CNN that engineers are still checking the data to see "how we landed and where we landed."

Shortly after landing was confirmed, the probe tweeted: "Touchdown! My new address: 67P!" Later, it tweeted again: "I'm on the surface but my harpoons did not fire."

ESA director Jean-Jacques Dordain told colleagues who had waited anxiously for confirmation of the landing. "This is a big step for human civilization. The biggest problem with success is it looks easy."

First image from rosetta bellow



What can we learn from comet landing?

And William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk in the science fiction series "Star Trek" retweeted: "touchdown confirmed for away team @Philae2014, captain!"

Led by ESA with a consortium of partners including NASA, scientists on the Rosetta mission hope to learn more about the composition of comets and how they interact with the solar wind -- high energy particles blasted into space by the Sun.

The Philae lander separated from the mother ship Rosetta around 3:30 a.m. ET to begin its 7-hour descent.

Philae, which has spent 10 years fixed to the side of Rosetta during the journey across the solar system, could not be steered. Once it was released, it was on its own.
How Rosetta lands on the comet How Rosetta lands on the comet
Philae lander on its way to comet
Rosetta ready for comet landing

Before the spacecraft separation, O'Rourke told CNN that the orbiter Rosetta had to be in the right position to allow the craft to "free fall" on the correct trajectory to the chosen landing site.

Scientists are hoping the probe will help us learn a lot more about the composition of comets and how they react when they get close to the Sun.
Source: CNN
« Last Edit: November 12, 2014, 07:42:41 PM by Sub5 »

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Update: Rosetta Comet landing Successful - Making History
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2014, 07:41:05 PM »

 

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