Thursday, November 13, 2014
The Rosetta Comet Landing
An amazing thing happened on November 12, 2014. Humans managed to land a spacecraft on a comet moving through space at 80,000 mph at a distance of 300 million miles from Earth.
The first part of this truly monumental technical achievement came this past August with the European Space Agency's successful rendezvous with a comet known as 67 P Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Not only did Rosetta rendezvous with this comet, it put itself into orbit around the 2.4 mile wide celestial object. [ see my blog from August 7, 2014 ]
It got even better on November 12th when the Rosetta comet orbiter released it's Philae lander vehicle. After a seven hour free fall descent, Philae successfully touched down on the 67 P Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet's surface.
I believe this comet rendezvous and landing must be counted as one of the greatest human achievements of all time. If we are capable of pulling off technical feats as unlikely as this, I have to ask myself, 'why can't we thoughtfully address and solve global scale challenges like climate change right here on Earth?
Here is a link to the European Space Agency website for the Rosetta Mission... http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Rosetta/Highlights/Postcards_from_Rosetta