Sleeping Rosetta spacecraft wakes up for comet rendezvous

Reply Fri 30 Sep, 2016 06:42 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Thanks, Walter.
Walter Hinteler
Reply Fri 30 Sep, 2016 09:49 am
The European Space Agency’s Rosetta probe has sent its final message. The mission lasted more than a decade and has left ESA scientists feeling a mixture of emotions.

Rosetta has completed its historic mission in a controlled descent to the surface of Comet 67/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The intentional crash ended the space probe's 12-year mission.

At the European Space Agency's operations center in Darmstadt, Germany, there were mixed feelings.

Paolo Ferri, Head of Mission Operations at ESA could not hold back his sadness when speaking with DW.
"It's a sad day for me, for sure. I worked 20 years on this mission. I don’t think for ESA this is a sad day - it's a very spectacular end, scientifically it's a very interesting end, and it's a clean end of the mission … But for me personally, it’s very sad."

Even Gerhard Schwem, a senior scientist who was involved in the 4,985-day mission from the get-go, was emotional seeing the end of Rosetta.

Frowned faces adorned those gathered in the crowd, not a word was spoken. In a somewhat morbid sense, we were all here to see something die.
Even the announcement the mission was over – the final signal had been received - was subdued.

"I am thankful and proud, it was a project we had to convince many decision makers of," he told DW immediately following the crash.
The mission, he adds, has been responsible for changing the way scientists think. "Our picture of the solar system has changed dramatically because [of the Rosetta mission]."

It's a sentiment Ferri agrees with.
"The big result is that all the old theories have to be thrown away, they have to be rethought."

There was a somber, almost funeral-like feel that came across mission control in the final minutes before the signal was lost and Rosetta crashed.

As that final signal was relayed on the big screen, few applauded, while others sat in stunned silence, realizing this was the end of what for some was a lifetime mission to space.
But for the scientists here on Earth, the work has only just begun.
Reply Fri 30 Sep, 2016 09:57 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Walter Hinteler wrote:
But for the scientists here on Earth, the work has only just begun.

Spare a thought for the loss adjuster.
0 Replies

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