So Europe is landing on a comet tomorrow

So Europe is landing on a comet tomorrow

Postby Graham Kennedy » Tue Nov 11, 2014 9:03 pm

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History beckons for the European Space Agency on Wednesday as it attempts to put a small probe on a comet.

Previous missions have flown by these "ice mountains" but no-one has ever emplaced a surface lander before.

Esa's Rosetta satellite will drop the probe on to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from an altitude of 20km.

If all goes to plan, the little robot, called Philae, will touch down about seven hours later, deploying screws and harpoons to secure its position.

Confirmation is expected at Earth around 1600 GMT.

The first thing Philae will do on landing is send back a picture of its surroundings - a strange landscape containing deep pits and tall ice spires.

This is, though, an event with a highly uncertain outcome.


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Re: So Europe is landing on a comet tomorrow

Postby RK_Striker_JK_5 » Tue Nov 11, 2014 11:11 pm

I'll be crossing my fingers for this to succeed!
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Re: So Europe is landing on a comet tomorrow

Postby Reliant121 » Wed Nov 12, 2014 4:43 pm

European robot probe Philae has made the first, historic landing on a comet, after descending from its mothership.

The lander touched down on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko at about 1605 GMT.

There were cheers and hugs at the control room in Darmstadt, Germany, after the signal was confirmed.

It was designed to shine a light on some of the mysteries of these icy relics from the formation of the Solar System.

The landing caps a 6.4 billion-kilometre journey that was begun a decade ago.

"This is a big step for human civilisation," said Jean-Jacques Dordain, the director-general of the European Space Agency (Esa).

Shortly after the touchdown was confirmed, Stephan Ulamec, the mission's lander chief, said: "Philae is talking to us... we are on the comet."

The robot deployed harpoons to fasten itself to the 2.5-mile-wide ball of ice and dust.

Scientists will use Philae to take pictures of the comet's landscape and to analyse its chemical composition.

They are hoping the its surface materials will hold fresh insights into the origins of our Solar System more than 4.5 billion years ago.


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Re: So Europe is landing on a comet tomorrow

Postby IanKennedy » Wed Nov 12, 2014 5:26 pm

Wow, that's so cool. So long as we don't have music from Guns and Roses and mining equipment in there. :)
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Re: So Europe is landing on a comet tomorrow

Postby Graham Kennedy » Wed Nov 12, 2014 6:40 pm

Just so long as nobody gets space dementia.
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Re: So Europe is landing on a comet tomorrow

Postby RK_Striker_JK_5 » Wed Nov 12, 2014 9:27 pm

That is so beyond awesome. 8)
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Re: So Europe is landing on a comet tomorrow

Postby Mikey » Wed Nov 12, 2014 10:08 pm

First data transmission: "Yep, it's ice alright."
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Re: So Europe is landing on a comet tomorrow

Postby sunnyside » Wed Nov 19, 2014 6:00 pm

So in the US the comet business made some splash, but the whole #shirtstorm thing was huge on social media to the point it leaked into mainstream media.

As news goes, it's all getting to be a bit "last week" now. However I think there may be something of a lasting legacy from this that the ESA is known as being a sexist culture. I'm curious if the shirtstorm business even registered in Europe and what you think.

Myself the thing that keeps occuring to me is that the guy wasn't ambushed by a reporter after he'd been celebrating at a Tikki party and doing Jagerbombs for hours. He was around tons and tons of people from the agency and probably the press, and nobody thought to give him a heads up about the shirt. I mean even if you think he should be able to wear it if he wants to, it shouldn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that it's going to offend a certain group of vocal people and cause a distraction from the science, and they had lots of rocket scientists around!
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Re: So Europe is landing on a comet tomorrow

Postby Reliant121 » Wed Nov 19, 2014 6:39 pm

I don't even think it was reported on the BBC; can't remember it being reported anyway.
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Re: So Europe is landing on a comet tomorrow

Postby Graham Kennedy » Wed Nov 19, 2014 8:05 pm

Honestly, most of the comment I've seen about the shirt was people talking about how utterly stupid the social justice warriors are to focus on something so trivial.
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Re: So Europe is landing on a comet tomorrow

Postby Mikey » Wed Nov 19, 2014 10:21 pm

The only news I even recall hearing about the landing was talk about the broken bit.
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Re: So Europe is landing on a comet tomorrow

Postby sunnyside » Thu Nov 20, 2014 12:12 am

Reliant121 wrote:I don't even think it was reported on the BBC; can't remember it being reported anyway.


I guess if you haven't heard about it, as the thing was approaching the comet he was doing interviews in this shirt.

Image

The results were fairly predictable.

When the mission was successful, this was an interview that was supposed to be his moment of triumph.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoPPgp4C9Ag

Again, my thing is how obliviously he seemed to walk into the issue. There are entire college majors dedicated to attacking guys for stuff like this, I bet there's one at his alma mater. And there are well funded grant programs dedicated to figuring out why women aren't in math and engineering (I have my own theories). And at least in the US you're often asked about how to make them feel more included in your grant applications for research. I mean research in engineering. You want to research nanoparticles? You better have a section of promises on reaching out to kids, minorities, or women.

Now, if he was planning to embrace himself and really try to make the "rock star scientist" thing happen and act like he's rap star that can wear whatever and sing about body parts than OK. Maybe if he pulled it off it might help with the stereotype that guys who go into engineering and science are forever alones or a bit pathetic at the least. As it is I'd say he reinforced that. Unfortunately.
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Re: So Europe is landing on a comet tomorrow

Postby Graham Kennedy » Thu Nov 20, 2014 2:19 am

If women are such delicate flowers that seeing a shirt like that in a science lab will have them recoiling in horror, then women shouldn't work in science. Or anywhere, really.
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Re: So Europe is landing on a comet tomorrow

Postby Mikey » Thu Nov 20, 2014 3:49 am

Graham Kennedy wrote:If women are such delicate flowers that seeing a shirt like that in a science lab will have them recoiling in horror, then women shouldn't work in science. Or anywhere, really.


I'm generally all for calling the change-the-goalpost BS for what it is, but in this case I have to say that I don't believe the shirt has anything to do with the issue of females in STEM education or the science and engineering professions. I don't have the exact figures to hand, but they rough out to something like 35% of eight-grade (12-13 year old) female students being science and engieering intended to 8% of female students involved in science or engineering professional or post-gradute work. This is a real problem, partly due to the "delicate flower" mindset, and is the result of a number of factors - none of which, however, is one rather ugly aloha shirt.
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