The Rosetta mission will be a first for the human race as the European space mission tries to land a robot on a comet some 510 million km away (300 million miles) from Earth.
Rosetta took off in 2004 taking 10 years to reach the comet known as 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The Rosetta satellite will release Philae the name of the scientific robot that will run experiments on the comet and send back information about the surface of the rubber duck shaped comet to scientists and technician on Earth.
Scientist Confident of Successful Comet Landing
Rosetta has been circling the comet for around a year taking telemetry looking for a safe place for Philae to land.
Fred Jansen said “We’ve analysed the comet, we’ve analysed the terrain, and we’re confident that the risks we have are still in the area of the 75% success ratio”
Landing on a Comet No Easy Task
This won’t be a simple task as no one knows what the surface of a comet will be like.
It’s been established that the surface of the comets constitution varying between rock hard and puff-powder soft and this could resulting in the landing site not being suitable for Philae to anchor itself successfully to the rocky surface, resulting in Philae drifting off into space.
The comets low gravity along with it’s mountain ranges, deep fissures and massive ice spears erupting from the surface are all concerns for the European mission control one miscalculation and the mission could end in disaster with Philae hitting a cliff.
Flying Down to The Comets Surface Challenging
Just getting to the surface of the comet will be a task in itself as it’s blasted with small particles of rock and ice as it approaches the surface. The journey will take 7 hours for the Robot to land at 16.00GMT today 12th November 2014.
Has it makes it decent radio contact as already been established and everything is on track for the first ever comet landing.
Why Land On a Comet
Scientists are hoping to unravel some of the universes secrets. Comets could hold vital clues about the materials that built the Solar System more than 4.5 billion years ago and scientist have speculated for years that comets could be how the Earth got it’s water and could be responsible for seeding life on our planet.
When Philae digs deep into the comets surface some of these vital questions could be answered and scientists will be closer to understand more about the universe we live in.