It so happens to be the case that Rosetta’s best moments are truly unforgettable. They constitute history in the making.
A Farewell to Rosetta
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Today, the ESA’s Rosetta space vehicle descended on the comet’s surface. It has been orbiting this comet since the year 2014. Now the whole series of investigations are finally coming to an end. It is a case of memories melting into each other.
Rosetta headed out from earth with the Philae Lander on board about a dozen years ago. Comet 67P was approached by these space vessels within a decade or so.
Although Philae’s mission was not long, the Rosetta spacecraft has remained with the comet ever since. It’s been years since Rosetta has been exploring the comet and increasing the basic knowledge of mankind.
Back on earth, a beautiful view of this gypsy-like nomadic comet has amused and amazed so many human beings who are astronomy enthusiasts. This comet provides clues as to the state of the early universe.
The icy remains from 4 billion years ago in the past have been laid wide open for us to investigate in the form of the interior of the comet.
Here are 5 facts about the Rosetta Spacecraft and Comet 67P that will surprise you:
1. Building Blocks of Life:
The molecules found in the interior of Comet 67P ranged from oxygen to water ice. Several familiar elements such as the amino acid glycine were also found. The organic material is proof of the presence of life forms once upon a time.
2. Explosion from Comet 67P:
A large number of photos were taken of Comet 67P. Some amazing details were captured with remarkable resolution by the camera on board the spacecraft. One such pic shows a spouting of dust from the comet while the light eerily illuminated this occurrence from behind.
3. Sound Bytes from the Comet:
The sound surrounding the comet was similar to the singing of whales in the deep blue sea. The movements of objects in the magnetic field of the comet produced these sounds.
4. Sinkholes in the Structure:
A dozen sinkholes were discovered in the structure of the comet. Parts of the interior has simply been worn threadbare, according to Popular Science.
5. In Search of the Lost Philae Lander:
Finding the lost Philae Lander on the surface of the comet was the biggest task before the Rosetta mission. After a long and arduous effort this fact was accomplished as well.
The Best Moments Remembered
The Rosetta did indeed make history. Now as it is losing ground, we here on planet earth will remember the scientific miracles wrought by the Rosetta mission. The probe was supposed to tell us everything about Comet 67P.
The crash landing will be a glorious event. Over 785 days were spent circling the comet. While in the past, these comets were thought to be snowballs composed of dust and other debris, now we know better. They are a world unto themselves.
The Comet Looks Like Donald Duck
The shape of Comet 67P is like a Disney character. In fact it looks like Donald Duck to be exact, according to Mashable. It is hardly like the round objects that comets have been supposed to resemble. Comet 67P has two lobes that make it a far out world.
The rubber ducky image has fascinated the people back home on planet earth. This comet probably got formed when two unrelated comets collided with each other and coalesced as a result. Comets are therefore ancient remnants from early collisions that took place.
Philae’s Miserable Performance
The 200 pound Philae Lander was supposed to make a soft landing on Comet 67P. However, such a thing never took place. Instead, it crashed into the comet.
It went into hibernation since its solar panels couldn’t function in the crevice where it had ended up. Finally, the Rosetta spacecraft managed to spy where the Philae Lander lay on the surface of Comet 67P.
An Interesting View of the Comet
The varied landscape of the comet presents an interesting picture. Cliffs, craters and rough grooves not to mention an uneven surface were the hallmarks of the comet.
The organic molecules and carbon compounds opened up the possibility of the comet having once harbored life. While it is hard on the outside, the interior is relatively soft. There is water and oxygen too but not in the forms found on earth.
The Historic Final Moments
Live coverage of the final moments on the comet of the Rosetta spacecraft will be sent to earth for all to gaze at in admiration and wonderment. The ESA will see to it that livestream shows this coverage starting from 3:00 am PDT.
Rosetta will touchdown on the comet at 3:40 am give or take 20 minutes, according to LATimes. It will be a time span of 40 minutes before the signals arrive on earth. Rosetta will not survive this crash into the comet once it occurs since it was meant to orbit it and not land on it.
Yet it will have been worth it in the end. The final images of Rosetta honing in on the comet will be the sort of event that only occurs once in a lifetime.