Robot Boldly Goes Where No Thing Has Gone Before…

The biggest news to hit the robotic sphere this week are Rosetta & Philae the European robot comet voyagers.  This dynamic duo which has been led by the ESA, the EU’s equivalent to NASA, is a tag team effort to better understand the Universe through attaching scientific instruments to moving comets.   Below are some of the first videos and images taken by the robots (note: Rosetta hovers above while Philae attaches to the comet ice rock below).

 The first picture below is from the lander separating from its “mothership”, Rosetta.  The mission success will determine on Philae’s ability to analyze the icy rock of the comet to better understand the formation of our Solar System.  Most scientist believe that comets contain the oldest material known in our Solar System.

First image
Success! Philae landed just missing the spiral above that would have destroyed the spacecraft:
In addition to the spiky rock particles, challenges to the mission include a very low gravity on the 4km-wide ice mountain. Philae could simply bounce back to space, as its foot screws and harpoons that fasten it into position failed to deploy.  Mission command said they might use its exploration drill as a back up.

During the mission, which started yesterday afternoon, Philae will take a pictures of its surroundings like the one above and collect data on early water particles.  Figures crossed as its outcome is highly uncertain.  Rather than breaking down the parts composed in these voyagers, we have posted below the schematics that can be enlarged by clicking on the image.  This is one small step for Philae, one giant step for robotkind.



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