November 11 – Call Me Ishmael

Today’s Factismal: Tomorrow morning, the human race harpoons a comet for the very first time.

This is a very special time in human history. We are doing things and going places that we’ve never been before. We’ve got probes exploring Mars and Mercury and a spacecraft that has flown from the Earth to one planet, orbited around it for a while and is now on its way to a second planet! But tomorrow we’ll do something that is truly extraordinary. Tomorrow, the ESA space probe Rosetta will release its lander Philae just above the comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The lander will shoot two harpoons into the comet and use them to pull itself onto the surface of the comet. It will then spend the next few months studying the comet as it rounds the Sun, watching to see how it changes over time.

The comet jdkkjadsbfjkdbf. Philae will land almost in the middle of the "saddle" between the two big chunks. (Image courtesy ESA)

The comet 67/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Philae will land almost in the middle of the “saddle” between the two big chunks.
(Image courtesy ESA)

The ESA will livestream the landing and NASA will also broadcast it. But if just watching us make history isn’t enough for you, then why not help us? Take part in the citizen science effort to map all of Vesta, the asteroid visited by DAWN. All you have to do is look at the really, really cool images of Vesta and circle anything that  you think is interesting! To take part, head over to Asteroid Mappers:
http://dawn.jpl.nasa.gov/DawnCommunity/asteroid_mappers.asp

One thought on “November 11 – Call Me Ishmael

  1. Pingback: December 31 – The Year In Science | Little facts about science

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