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Sleeping Rosetta spacecraft wakes up for comet rendezvous

 
 
tsarstepan
 
  2  
Reply Tue 18 Nov, 2014 08:14 am
http://i58.tinypic.com/s3eoug.jpg
Quote:
This right here is a comet. We just landed on probe on one of those bad boys. Here’s what one looks like compared to Los Angeles:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/daves4/the-universe-is-scary
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Wed 17 Dec, 2014 02:36 pm
The European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft is beaming back high-resolution photos of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko this week that engineers hope will reveal the location of the Philae lander, the small robot that bounced off the surface Nov. 12 and tumbled into rugged, heavily shadowed terrain, project scientists said Wednesday.

Figuring out the lander's precise location and orientation will help scientists determine if and when Philae's solar panels might receive enough sunlight, as the comet moves closer to the sun, to recharge its battery and bring the hardy craft back to life for extended science observations. Lodged on its side in a jumble of icy slabs, rocky debris and nearby cliffs, Philae lost power and went into electronic hibernation three days after landing.

While mission managers cannot predict a successful awakening, lead lander scientist Jean-Pierre Bibring is optimistic.


23 PHOTOS
Historic comet landing
"I think within the team there is no doubt that we will wake up," he told reporters at the American Geophysical Union's Fall meeting in San Francisco. "And the question is OK, in what shape? My suspicion is we'll be in good shape."

The lander faces two major hurdles. Without power, and with most of the spacecraft in shadow, extreme cold could damage internal systems. And without a minimum amount of solar power, Philae's battery cannot charge and its computer system cannot restart. To resume science operations, an additional half-dozen watts will be needed.

"For the electricity, we need to have solar panels with a few watts, typically 5 watts, which is sufficient to reboot the system," Bibring said. "If we want to do (science) we need to have another 5 or 7 watts. So the question is how to get there?"

In April or May, 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko will be close enough to the sun to provide the intensity needed, engineers believe, but Philae could wake up earlier if gaps in the local terrain allows additional sunlight to reach its panels.

"We have done all we could with the data we have now," Bibring said. "We have reconstructed the trajectory, so we know, I think, the sort of area in which we should be, but then we need to have a precise understanding to reconstruct the local terrain model close to us to know where we are."

A pessimistic assessment indicates the lander might not wake up until after Easter. But conditions could improve much earlier, he said. "It really depends on how the sun will go over the local horizon. The total energy we need is something like 15 watts, which is less than what you have in your fridge (light)."

Rosetta's OSIRIS camera has completed a series of observations that should include the lander based on detailed analysis of data collected during and just after Philae's unexpected, multi-bounce landing, along with results from two earlier search campaigns. The images are in the process of being transmitted back to Earth.

"It's a bit like waiting for Christmas presents," said project scientist Matt Taylor. "That's basically the situation. I think the images have been taken, we're just waiting for them to come down."

OSIRIS Principal Investigator Holger Sierks said his team carried out two search campaigns on Nov. 24 and again on Dec. 6. But given the general area where they suspected the lander might have ended up, extensive shadowing resulted in just one candidate "but it was not significant enough to say yes, that is it."

Three more search campaigns were carried out Dec. 12, 13 and 14 and "we should find the lander in these images," Sierks said. "But it's half a billion kilometers to get the data down and it's first in, first out. So we'll have to wait for data to get down. Then the real search will start."

Rosetta began its 10-year 3.7-billion-mile odyssey on March 2, 2004, boosted into space by an Ariane 5 rocket. To reach 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the spacecraft had to carry out four planetary flybys, repeatedly using the gravity of Earth and Mars to boost its velocity enough to move out into deep space.

By the summer of 2011, the spacecraft was too far from the sun for its solar arrays to generate enough electricity to power all of its instruments and subsystems. At that point, flight controllers put the spacecraft into electronic hibernation, shutting down all non-essential systems. Finally, on Jan. 20, Rosetta woke itself up and on Aug. 6, the spacecraft matched orbits with 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko to begin a year-and-a-half of close-range observations.

On Nov. 12, the Philae lander was released for its long-awaited descent to the surface. The lander was equipped with two downward-firing harpoons and ice screws on its three landing legs designed to hold the craft down in the comet's feeble gravity.

But the harpoons failed to fire, the ice screws did not engage and Philae bounced off the surface, soaring through a huge arc before coming back down again two hours later. The lander then bounced away again, finally coming to rest lodged in rocks and apparently on its side, with one landing leg extending up toward space.

Frames from a panorama taken after it came to rest revealed a nearby cliff and a chaotic jumble of dark rock-like debris casting long shadows and allowing only minimal sunlight to reach Philae's solar cells.

Operating primarily on battery power, the lander dutifully carried out its programmed science observations, beaming data to the Rosetta mothership for relay back to Earth. Three days after touchdown, after an attempt re-orient itself to improve solar lighting, the lander dropped off line. It has not been heard from since.

While Bibring is optimistic his lander will wake up at some point in the months ahead, "we'll know only when we're there, so I cannot say more than that."

"We'll get prepared for a positive, (to) get out of hibernation," he said. "We do not see anything is broken. So really, the question is whether some of the electronics might suffer from the cold. We think most of the things outside already went through very low temperatures in hibernation (during Rosetta's voyage to the comet) and that worked very well."

And if Philae does manage to wake up, its shadowy landing site might offer an unexpected benefit. Had Philae landed on target and stuck to the surface, it would have been fully exposed to the sun and likely would have failed due to high temperatures in March or April, well before the comet reached perihelion when it will make its closest approach to the sun.

"Thanks to the shadows in which we are now, if we have survival we can go until after perihelion, I hope. And so that's why I call this Perihelion Cliff," he said, showing a photo of a rock-like wall that Philae snapped on landing day. "It's very important."

© 2014 CBS Interactive Inc.
hawkeye10
 
  -1  
Reply Wed 17 Dec, 2014 04:45 pm
@edgarblythe,
Considering that they dont know where the lander is any talk of getting enough juice to wake up and do anything is all speculation. What we do know is that so far it has only had 50 hours of life because the probe did not have the correct energy source.
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  -1  
Reply Sat 10 Jan, 2015 09:33 pm
Turns out they now think that the probe is too small to deal with all of the dust, that it got buried or at least the solar panels mostly did and that it will probably never wake up.

Did they not know about the dust? IDK, but next try they need to send something bigger. And nuclear powered.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Thu 22 Jan, 2015 03:46 pm
http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-30931445
Rosetta: 'Goosebumps' on 'space duck' hint at comet formation
By Jonathan Amos
Science correspondent, BBC News
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 21 Mar, 2015 08:47 am
Rosetta Finds Molecular Nitrogen On Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko: Here's Why The Discovery Is Important
http://www.techtimes.com/articles/41258/20150321/rosetta-finds-molecular-nitrogen-on-comet-67p-churyumov-gerasimenko-heres-why-the-discovery-is-important.htm
0 Replies
 
Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Sun 14 Jun, 2015 05:32 am
Rosetta's lander, Philae, is working again.
According to the DLR, the operating temperature is minus 35 degree Celsius, and it has got enough energy. Philae "spoke" yesterday (Saturday) about 85 seconds with the German control team.
Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Sun 14 Jun, 2015 06:26 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Rosetta mission: Philae comet lander 'ready for operations' after first contact in 7 months
Quote:
[...]
For 85 seconds Philae "spoke" with its team on ground, via Rosetta, in the first contact since going into hibernation in November.

The ESA reports that when analysing the status data it became clear that Philae also must have been awake earlier: "We have also received historical data - so far, however, the lander had not been able to contact us earlier."

Scientists are now awaiting further contact.

There are still more than 8000 data packets in Philae’s mass memory which will give the DLR team information on what happened to the lander in the past few days on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 14 Jun, 2015 09:39 am
Good show. Amazing that they could do this at all.
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Sun 14 Jun, 2015 09:59 am
@edgarblythe,
Super news! doubters be damned
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Jun, 2015 01:36 am
@ehBeth,
For those keeping track: it was programed to wake at 5.5 watts, it can phone home with 19 watts, and it has 24 watts. How many watts it needs to do anything scientific IDK. Right now the lander is being told to use most of its energy for heating and communication, so I am thinking that little to no work is getting done. But cheer away, maybe this will have a happy ending.....it aint dead yet!

http://blogs.esa.int/rosetta/2015/04/10/next-listening-opportunities-for-philae/

http://astronomynow.com/2015/06/14/philae-lander-phones-home/

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Above from another thread. What they really want to do is drill. Someone please tell me how many watts they need to do this. For reference a standard hand drill on Earth runs at about 600 watts.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Jun, 2015 05:15 am
Philae bounced when it landed, and its solar panels could not recharge the batteries, so it was ordered to hibernate. It's not as though it's going to come online fully charged. Try to keep up, 'K?
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  0  
Reply Mon 15 Jun, 2015 07:27 am
@hawkeye10,
hawkeye10 wrote:
Someone please tell me how many watts they need to do this.

This lists the drilling subsystem as having a maximum power of 12 watts:
http://www.dlr.de/rd/Portaldata/28/Resources/dokumente/rx/Philae_Lander_FactSheets.pdf
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Mon 15 Jun, 2015 06:56 pm
@hawkeye10,
I assume they are charging the batteries. "Watts" is a rate... it measures how much energy is being collected each second. They can store that energy and use it how they like. The unit of energy is "Watt hour" and according to your spec sheet, they can put 1000 watt hours in the primary battery (over a period of under 50 hours).

I am pretty sure that they will be able to do real science with that.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Jun, 2015 07:01 pm
The reports i have been hearing on the radio say that Philae now gets three house of direct sunlight per day. They'll be fully charged soon, i suspect. Right now, Philae is sending back the data packets it had not sent when it went to sleep in November.
0 Replies
 
Olivier5
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Jun, 2015 07:07 pm
From the mission blog:
http://blogs.esa.int/rosetta/2015/06/15/philae-wake-up-triggers-intense-planning/

[...] “Power levels increase during the local ‘comet day’ – the part of the about-12 hour comet rotation when Philae is in sunlight – from 13 W at comet sunrise to above 24 W,” notes ESA’s Patrick Martin, Rosetta Mission Manager. “It needs at least 19 W to switch on the transmitter.”

The telemetry downloaded covered the lander’s status for a full night–day cycle of the comet, which is helping ground teams to understand how the Sun is shining on the lander. The solar panels appear to be receiving power for over 135 minutes in each illumination period.

“While the information we have is very preliminary, it appears that the lander is in as good a condition as we could have hoped,” says Dr Ulamec.

The task at hand

The main task now for all the mission partners – ESA for Rosetta operations and DLR and France’s CNES space agency for lander operations and science, respectively – is to determine how to optimise Rosetta's orbit so as to facilitate contact and enable new science investigations.

It is believed that there is sufficient power now being generated to allow some science measurements during the time Philae is illuminated, with initial activities focusing on low-power measurements. This first phase would also likely include measurements that did not previously generate science in November.

However, the mission teams first must establish a more robust link between Rosetta and Philae before uploading the first batch of science operations commands.

The quality of the communication link is also possibly related to the trajectory Rosetta is flying and the orientation it adopts.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Jun, 2015 07:09 pm
Seems it will probably revive once a year for a long time?
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Jun, 2015 07:44 pm
@edgarblythe,
Not a year. It passes close to the sun every six and a half years. It is mid-June now, the closest to the sun will be in August. I am guessing that we have another couple of months of operation at least from this time around.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Jun, 2015 08:04 pm
@maxdancona,
Oh. I forgot they don't orbit paths like planets.
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Jun, 2015 09:10 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

Not a year. It passes close to the sun every six and a half years. It is mid-June now, the closest to the sun will be in August. I am guessing that we have another couple of months of operation at least from this time around.


They have no clue how long they will get....ice cubes melt, which tends to make everything on them unstable.
0 Replies
 
 

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