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Thread: Rosetta Spacecraft and Philae Lander

  1. #1

    Default Rosetta Spacecraft and Philae Lander

    I'm slightly surprised to find that nobody has posted about this as of yet!

    Personally, I am awed that the European Space Agency has been able to drop a lander on this comet. For those of you who have an idea behind the math and engineering required for this, you're likely as impressed by what it takes to get this spacecraft off of Earth and out to match the velocity and orbit of this comet without burning huge masses of fuel.

    For those of you who are less technically minded, you have to realize it takes huge amounts of energy to get a mass out of Earth's gravity. The total mass of the Rosetta spacecraft and Philae lander together with the fuel for them is 3000kg. To get this free of our gravity took a 777,000kg rocket!

    Now, the spacecraft does one orbit around the sun before using Earth's gravity to give it a speed boost. It continues on and uses Mars' gravity for another boost, then twice more getting boosts from Earth before going into deep space to meet up with the comet. Just the timing to match all of the orbits with the gravity boosts (two planets, one comet, four passes past planets, matching the comet velocity, etc.) makes you wonder what the launch window looked like and how long it would be if it were missed.

    I'm looking forward to seeing what information they pull from this project!

  2. #2

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    I think the rest of us science, technology, physics, SF and Fantasy fans have taken a while to come to our senses after being stunned by this achievement.

  3. #3

  4. #4

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    I thought from the beginning that it was an amazing accomplishment. I said to my wife that it must have involved a lot of incredible math.

  5. #5

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    I agree with AnalogROT.

    Having seen the discussion of the complications to get a satellite to Mars is one thing. But to get a larger unit with a lander and the ability to get to Mars, land at least a crew of two on the planet then get them off, back to the return unit and home is going to be a long crap shot.

    To hear people comment on why it is taking so long is amazing. Even the Lunar astronauts have said that it would only take us 9 years if we decide to get back to the moon.

    To get to a small piece of junk millions of miles away and hit it without crashing is amazing if one considers the computer programing control that it took. I have not heard what the delay time to signal travel is. I know it is 16 minutes from here to Mars.

    It is amazing no matter how into the science you are. I would say it would be easier for a lay person to hit a bird with a golf ball and I #3 wood then land a satellite on a comet.

  6. #6

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    I too, indeed, marvel at such things.

    The amount of science, math, determination and accuracy to accomplish this feat is astounding! The timing and invariables leave no room for any error or miscalculation. The fact that a human-made module is planted on the surface of an infrequent comet some 331 million miles from our surface is pure science fiction realized!

    Where may we go next?

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by egor View Post
    It is amazing no matter how into the science you are. I would say it would be easier for a lay person to hit a bird with a golf ball and I #3 wood then land a satellite on a comet.
    Don't know about that.. I've hit a number of birds over the years, mostly geese. Its that little hole on the green that gives me problems.

  8. #8

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    A reasonable comparison would be if the hole was a single blade of grass wide and you had one shot to land on it perfectly, no backspin allowed.

    Signal delay was just shy of 30 minutes, I believe.

    Anyway, the entire thing was and is mind-blowing. It's incredible that it worked and incredible thar they got stuff back. There's even a chance that if it shifts to being in sunlight, it will wake up and start transmitting again.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maxx View Post
    Don't know about that.. I've hit a number of birds over the years, mostly geese. Its that little hole on the green that gives me problems.
    But still this makes my point.

    If you hit the bird you where aiming at the little cup in the green and not intending to hit the bird.

    Maybe we should start a thread on the most pathetic unintended shot that one has done in golf.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by egor View Post
    Maybe we should start a thread on the most pathetic unintended shot that one has done in golf.
    5 feet forward...on a tee shot.

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