Rosetta See Comet Changes.

The Rosetta spacecraft has started sending images back during comet 67P’s evolution as it passed around the sun.

A new jet issues from a fissure in the rugged, dusty surface of Rosetta's comet. Credit: ESO/Rosetta/Navcam

New jets are forming as the sun heats up the icy comet.

Side by side comparison of the two image from Dec. 9, 2014 (left) and Jan. 8, 2015. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/Navcam

Internal pressure is building up as well, causing fissures and cracks to appear, in the after and before photo above.

Four-image mosaic shows the overall view of the comet on January 22 photographed 17.4 miles (28 km) from its center. The larger of the two lobes is at left; Hapi is the smooth region at the transition between the lobes. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/Navcam

As comet 67p gets closer to the sun, more jets will be spewing forth their scientific goodies for Rosetta to examine.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +, or by email.

Norman

Shed A Little Light On Philae.

Alas, Philae may be dead.

The bouncing during landing put the probe into an area that was darker than was expected and the lander only had enough power for two days.  The probe stopped working at 7:36pm Eastern Time, right about the time it going to lose touch with Earth anyway.

Although the published pictures seem to show a lot of light on the comet’s surface, the image above is closer to the actual conditions on the comet.  It is a cold, dark, distant place.

Philae dies

But it was a good two days.  The probe worked around to clock to gather all the information possible and transmit it back to Rosetta and then to Earth while it batteries slowly drained.  While technically, Philae has gone into sleep mode, unless the position of the comet changes as it approaches the Sun, the lander will not get enough sunlight to recharge it’s batteries.

All hope is not lost, and Rosetta is still gathering data, but it must have been sad to watch the slow decay of 10 years of work right before your eyes.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +, or by email.

Norman

Feel The Burn!

ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft has completed its longest burn to chase down comet 67P/C-G Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

The almost eight hours of maneuvring slowed the spacecraft to the same speed as the comet.

 

It was intended to take out a big chunk (almost 300m/s) of the velocity Rosetta had (755m/s) with respect to 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

Orbits

Now the craft will take a rather odd path to get to its final destination so that it can land before the comet starts warming up and really starts ejecting material due to interactions with the Sun and other bodies in the solar system.

Once the craft is close enough the Philae lander will (hopefully) touch down on the surface of comet just like the illustration from the ESA above.

In a dramatic moment (insert DUN DUN DUHHHH! music here) the burn caused some concern because of a leak in the pressure and  propellant tank system.  The leak wouln’t have blown the spacecraft up, but it might have made the burn rate uneven resulting in the spacecraft missing the target.

This is good news for the Discovery Channel when they make their documentary about this, the will be able to add the expected drama to make science more enjoyable.  After all, it can’t always be shark week.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +

Norman