Philae’s Wild Comet Landing: Crater Grazing, Spinning And Landing In Parts Unknown

Philae landed nearly vertically on its side with one leg up in outer space. Here we see it in relation to the panoramic photos taken with the CIVA cameras. Credit: ESA

Philae landed nearly vertically on its side with one leg up in outer space. Here we see it in relation to the panoramic photos taken with the CIVA cameras. Credit: ESA

No, scientists haven’t found Philae yet. But as they churn through the scientific data on the comet lander, more information is emerging about the crazy landing last month that included three touchdowns and an incredible two hours of drifting before Philae came to rest in a relatively shady spot on the surface.

Among the latest: the tumbling spacecraft “collided with a surface feature” shortly after its first landing, perhaps grazing a crater rim with one of its legs. This information comes from an instrument called ROMAP (Rosetta Lander Magnetometer and Plasma Monitor) that monitors magnetic fields. The instrument is now being used to track down the spacecraft.

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Read the rest of Philae’s Wild Comet Landing: Crater Grazing, Spinning And Landing In Parts Unknown (268 words)


© Elizabeth Howell for Universe Today, 2014. |
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