Friday, 5 September 2014

Rosetta: Landing on a snowball

So for the first time ever we are trying to land a space craft on a comet. The Rosetta spacecraft is currently in orbit around comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (catchy name I know) and they are currently hoping to land a little craft on the surface of the comet its self.

Artist impression of the lander on the comet.
So we'll start with what a comet is. Comets are small icy bodies found in our Solar system, they are affectionally called Dirty Snowballs, as that is basically what they are. Mostly made of ice, rock and dirt they have a really large orbit around the Sun in which, unlike the Earth that stays about the same distance from the Sun, comets at one part of their orbit get really close to the Sun. As they are mostly made of ice, this turns into the comet heating up and leaving a trail of ice and rock behind it.

The ice trail of a comet

So why do we want to want to but a satellite in orbit around a comet? Because they come from deep space, that is very far away from Earth. They are made of lots of different materials that we may not find that much of on Earth. Some scientists think that the reason that we have more water here on Earth than on most planets is that comets hit the Earth millions of years ago and then melted to give us the oceans and seas.

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

Rosetta was woken up from it's hibernation in January, and went into orbit around the comet in August. It is mostly looking to see what the comet is made of and whether comets could possibly have brought the building blocks of life to Earth! I'll maybe write another blog post if there are more developments, but for now that is a little introduction!
What do you guys think of trying to land on a snowball? Cool or crazy?

11 comments:

  1. Thank you for the comment on my blog, I hope you visit again!
    Lovely blog, keep up the good work x

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  2. If I hadn't studied microbiology, I was going to go into Astronomy. I still love using my telescope and reading about space. Cute blog!!

    Kris | www.love-loft-life.com

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    Replies
    1. Aww I find microbiology so interesting, did you like your degree? Telescopes are the best, thank you!

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  3. i'm in love with this! great post x

    Visit my blog? xx Miss Beatrix (http://missbeatrix.com)

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  4. Damn. That photography. I love your blog and I think landing on a snowball sounds so cool!

    -M
    http://thelyfoflittleme.blogspot.com.au/

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  5. Great post. Really informative and interesting!

    Thanks for your comment on my blog. Hope you visit again x

    http://cherylxsharing.blogspot.com

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    Replies
    1. Aww thank you!

      http://starsandspaceandstuff.blogspot.co.uk/

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