Saturday, October 1, 2016

Rosetta: 2004-2016, twelve years of an amazing journey – RTP

Were 12h20 when the mission of the probe, the european Rosetta reached the end. The story could be part of an epic tale. In fact, we are talking about the end of two small probes that departed out of the Land, and undertook a long journey of 12 years ago a comet that was traveling toward the sun.

they continued on to the space in march 2004. The journey was long and difficult. But carried in itself a goal pioneering: to orbit a comet.

The probe Rosetta, which carried in its bosom a probe is more small, the Philae, before reaching the final destination had to make a series of programmed settings to your trip. In September 2008 made a pass by the asteroid Steins, at a distance of approximately 802 kilometres and, later, in July 2010, crossed with the asteroid Lutetia, but at a greater distance – 3.162 Km.

Lacking still four years until the last meeting and the orders coming from the Earth were to hibernate and not spend energy. What happened between June 2011 and January 2014.

The scientists would then have a huge hope in the mission, and hoped to find an object frozen and oval, but that Rosetta has encountered was anything but that. The comet 67P/Churiumov-Gerasimenko was more of a black block, porous, that resembled a rubber duck and, it turned out, his tail was composed of a lot of dust.

6 August 2014, Rosetta arrived finally at the destination.

First made a few adjustments to the orbital, triangular, in order to establish a stable orbit around the low-mass rocky. Took advantage of this time to give an account of how this was the comet, its shape, rotation and composition of the initial.

Data which, it was hoped, would be supplemented when there conditions to deposit on the ground of the 67P the small probe Philae.

In the control centre of the european mission the sentiment was that nothing could be better. The scientists were thrilled with the images sent through the camera’s high-resolution Osiris, installed on the massive body of Rosetta. But, despite all running good, was now very delicate. Put the small Philae on the soil of the comet.

we Studied hundreds of photos of 67P, where one could see many craters in the dark and small plateaus. The rotation of the comet could not help the mission, but this factor does not desmoralizava to the committee, the scientific.

10:23 GMT on the 13th day of November 2014. The order was given to probe mother Rosetta Releases the Philae and let it fly in the direction of the comet".

it was a time of tension and waiting, once spent nearly an hour between the signal emitted by the Earth and the response of confirmation by the probe.

The images received gave account of the success of the order and the small probe, about the size of a washing machine, domestic, descended slowly toward the rugged Churiumov-Gerasimenko.

later, the news arrived of distant 510 million kilometres from the Earth to the control centre of the Agency the European space were not the best. The Philae had managed to land, but not in the location expected. The low gravitational force exerted by the 67P did not allow a landing more "energy" and the locking hooks of the small probe could not be fixed to the ground.

Philae, after a first touch on the comet, bounced a small rubber ball bounces on the earth, and flew to another point.

at The second attempt, the same problem, and back to jump. Ended up in a local wilderness and with a window of low light. With no sunlight to feed the normal operation, the ESA was forced to reduce the operations of the small Philae to a minimum. In the control center of mission to Rosetta, in the Land, the personal is scientific, I did not know exactly where Philae was, but I knew that was functional, since it communicated. Sought all the solutions to take the Philae of the “hole” where it was, but without success.

The mission, in spite of the immediate success that for the first time if I could land a human object on a comet, suffered in this way a huge please review it.

Two and a half days after several failed attempts, the ESA says the Philae to hibernate and to expect, under a cold and inhospitable Space, until the 67P estovesse closest to the Sun. Without light there would be no energy.

Already with the comet to feel the force of hot winds solar, the ESA has tried more than once to contact with the Philae that, hidden, I still do not give signs of life. But seven months later, they were 20h28 GMT, on the 13th day of June 2015, there is a signal coming from the surface of the comet.

The Philae was “alive”, as a whole, but the light that came to the solar panels installed on the back was not enough to help in the mission which he was destined.

After several weeks of searching the Philae is found in a recess dark of 67P. Credits:ESA/DR

The control center has released the orders to the small probe to jump, but once more the intended effect had no effect. The scientists were of the ESA were required to leave the probe to live their last moments of life.

The probe’s mother, Rosetta, source the relay of the signals from the Philae, was still strong and active in the orbit of the Churiumov-Gerasimenko. In such a way that the ESA decided to extend the mission a few more months. The Rosetta has performed in the meantime thousands of high resolution photographs and studied, how much could, all the instruments on board enabled him to do.

final Photos sent by the probe Rosetta before crashing on the comet 67P/Churimov-Gerasimenko. Credits: ESA

Today passed 4261 days, at 14h26 GMT, the probe european Rosetta gave its last sign of existence, coming to the end of its historic mission with a "dip" controlled about the comet that welcomed the two probes, and land that now serves as home to the heavenly.

Picture of the last signal emnviado by Rosetta received by the control centre of the ESA. Credits: ESA/DR

The 12 years of the european mission Rosetta has cost about 3.5 euros each european citizen, for a total of approximately 13 billion euros. But the price scientific obtained with all of this experience will be perhaps impossible to quantify. The data collected throughout the mission still have a lot to reveal about the deep secrets of this Universe. Most of all, the Rosetta shows that humanity still has much to explore.


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