Philae probe is similar to a cat?

Matt Taylor – the adventures of Rosetta

Caught the comet British astrophysicist Matt Taylor told the guests of the festival 360° about the Rosetta mission. about why study comets in General, and about their own role in this Grand project. We have selected a few interesting quotes from Kinot-speech for those who for some reason missed the lecture or watched the broadcast.

About comets in General

I will tell you about their history, about their view on what the Rosetta mission, because I am only a small part of a huge team. So why do we study comets?

This film, created by Polish Studio Platige Image jointly with ESA] was released shortly before docking of the probe Philae from the comet. Its task is to explain the purpose of our mission. We hope to learn more about the evolution of the Solar system – where did we come from? Therefore, it is important to understand how on Earth there was water.

Here’s what we know about comets after all observations. Their Central core is very small if to compare with the “tail” of dust and gas that the comet emits.

Approaching the Sun, the comet starts to melt frozen material in his composition of the dust and different gases] is heated, and the gas starts to separate, forming a gorgeous tail. The closer to the Sun, the stronger the activity of the comet, the more the tail; but eventually she is removed and freeze again.

Of sleeping and waking up “Rosetta”

Kosmicheskiye Rosetta (with solar panels) has 32 meters in length, a little more basketball courts, and weighs about 3 tons, with nearly half of the weight falls on the fuel. The descent module Philae weighs about 100 kg, he’s the size of a washing machine.

I joined the mission-when the Rosetta spacecraft. after flying past Earth and Mars, were in a state of hibernation [he was inactive from may 2011 to January 2014]. Before the device is “asleep”, our experts asked him a direction and purpose to find it was not easy, because the sky is full of noise, it is difficult to find the right point.

My mom is not too versed in plasma physics, so she never understood what I did in the previous project (Cluster ). But after hearing that I will study the comet mission Rosetta, she said, “Comet? Yes, all right, I remember Halley’s comet. And I know a song about Rosetta”.

This song often helped us to relax a little at the difficult stage of working on the project – stage of output unit from sleep mode. We were very nervous. Everything went according to plan, but worried all the same. And the song… maybe the fact that it’s about a girl who had too much to drink the night before? Anyway, it worked and the machine has successfully emerged from hibernation.

With the help of the cameras of the Rosetta spacecraft, we were able to clarify how you actually look like a comet.

About probes and cats

I like to compare the Philae probe with the cat – if you are trying to drop the cat on the floor, it always lands on paws. As a child I did a lot of observing, wanting to understand – and whether the cat to land some other way? Success I reached, the cat really always landed that way. But the analogy I like: it also had to land exactly on its legs.

Bad smell of the comet

We learned the “flavor” of the comet – its coma include water, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide gases, ammonia and methane. So the comet smell is so-so – let’s say, very similar to the smell of spoiled eggs or a good Friday night.

About the next year of the mission

This year we had the opportunity to extend the mission Rosetta will run until September 2016. What would she do, given that all the basic research is finished? Now we are actively discussing such a plan: why not try to land on the surface of the unit itself and not the probe? Rosetta will try to get as close to the comet, while continuing to transmit data. So we can get new information while the comet will be moving away from the Sun, and to compare the data before and after approximation. Perhaps, in the end, we divide the device on the surface, but will do it solely in order to collect as much information as possible.

About their own role

What is my role in the Rosetta mission? I am a researcher of the mission, and my main goal is to provide her scientific work. Another task is to tell everyone about what is happening on the comet. By the way, when I gave several interviews, journalists began to explain to me what’s going on – and then suddenly I don’t know something? So I play as “the messenger”, describing our work.

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