I saw the above remark following the Orion test-flight and thought again about the incredible landing of Philae. In the summer, landing site "J" was selected on the smaller lobe of 67P C-G and the field was narrowed down to an ellipse of approx 1 X 1 km square.
Look closely at the white boulder:
Above is Wednesday November 12. For comparison, without the "+":
(from Oct 17)
|Can you see where I marked the landing?|
(from Dec 7 NavCam)
I am afraid that this is getting big. However, I want to show you the harpoons
And the initial touch down was within 40m of the target selected back in September. And Orion could only do within 3Km?
Philae probably had a measure of luck that the harpoons did not fire - the surface of 67P is much harder than anticipated so a recoil might have been expected. If the retrothruster had cut in Philae might have been a pancake. We may have to wait for a few months to see whether Philae can continue. However, when I asked in 2012 if the lifetime were of the order of 40 hours I was told that if Philae worked 40 hours "they" would be happy. Scientists being scientists - if you give them 40, they will want 40 more. And let us not forget Rosetta with 11 experiments running - planned for at least another 12 months. Much to be thankful for, much to anticipate. wob