Get smart curated videos delivered to your inbox.   SUBSCRIBE
The Kid Should See This

Landing on a comet: Rosetta Spacecraft & Philae robotic lander

This has never been done before: the European Space Agency (ESA) is about to land a spacecraft onto the surface of a comet. Launched in 2004, the Rosetta spacecraft will reach 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in August 2014, and will attach its Philae (fee-LAY) robotic lander to it during the following November.

The spacecraft’s mission is to study the comet at close-range as it transforms from a quiet nugget of ice and rock, frozen solid by years spent in deep space, to a sun-warmed dynamo spewing jets of gas and dust into a magnificently evolving tail…

“A flyby is just a tantalizing glimpse of a comet at one stage in its evolution,” points out (project scientist Claudia) Alexander. “Rosetta is different. It will orbit 67P for 17 months. We’ll see this comet evolve right before our eyes as we accompany it toward the sun and back out again.”

tumblr_n6pkskpkuY1r0q28po1_1280

Because a comet has little gravity, the lander will anchor itself with harpoons. “The feet may drill into something crunchy like permafrost, or maybe into something rock solid,” Alexander speculates.

Once it is fastened, the lander will commence an unprecedented first-hand study of a comet’s nucleus while Rosetta continues to monitor developments overhead.

Update: This NAVCAM image was taken on August 2, 2014 from 500km (310.7 miles) away from the comet. Credits: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM

ESA_ROSETTA_NAVCAM_20140802_full_g05

In the archives: What makes up a comet?

via diy.

This Webby award-winning video collection exists to help teachers, librarians, and families spark kid wonder and curiosity. TKSST features smarter, more meaningful content than what's usually served up by YouTube's algorithms, and amplifies the creators who make that content.

Curated, kid-friendly, independently-published. Support this mission by becoming a sustaining member today.

🌈 Watch these videos next...

Expedition 40 Soyuz Docks to Space Station

Rion Nakaya

Decoding the Voyager Golden Record

Rion Nakaya

The Spitzer Space Telescope, one of NASA’s ‘Great Observatories’

Rion Nakaya

Can you push a spacecraft with light? – Physics Girl

Rion Nakaya

Fly over Jupiter with NASA’s Juno spacecraft

Rion Nakaya

The Meteorite Museum: A visit with ASU’s Center for Meteorite Studies

Rion Nakaya

The Rosetta Mission – A claymation tale of science & adventure

Rion Nakaya

A night time lapse of Comet Lovejoy

Rion Nakaya

Inside the Meteorite Clean Room at the Smithsonian

Rion Nakaya