Philae has landed!

by Greg Mayer

Qapla’!! Philae has landed! The European Space Agency’s Philae lander has successfully landed on Comet P67, and begun transmitting data.

Philae, as seen from Rosetta, on its way to the comet (European Space Agency, ESA)

Philae, as seen from Rosetta, on its way to the comet (European Space Agency, ESA)

If you rewind the live feed, the success signal is received at exactly 3:00:00 (17:03 CET in Darmstadt), so you can see the reaction in the control room. Here’s the BBC coverage, which includes the hugging in the control room.

Here’s the comet itself, taken by Rosetta, prior to the landing.

A view of the comet (European Space Agency, ESA).

A view of the comet (European Space Agency, ESA).

William Shatner is providing live tweet coverage, and there’s coverage from the Telegraph, the Guardian (lots of nice pictures at the Guardian), and the NY Times. There was also live coverage in the US on NASA TV, but I think that has now ended.

Qapla', Klingon for success, written in the Klingon script plqaD.

Qapla’! (Klingon for success, written in the Klingon script plqaD).

EDIT from Matthew Cobb: xkcd was *live-cartooning* the whole event, with updates to his cartoon in real time. Tanya Harrison has assembled them all into this nifty gif (pronounced…)

54 Comments

  1. francis
    Posted November 12, 2014 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    sub

  2. Paul S.
    Posted November 12, 2014 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Waiting to hear if the anchors are set. There was some concern at the end of the press conference that they had not deployed.

  3. Posted November 12, 2014 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    🚀

  4. Jonathan Smith
    Posted November 12, 2014 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    Way to go USA!! Oh wait we didn’t do anything because NASA’s budget was dramatically cut. Once the leader in the space race, now we can’t make it around the track.

    • Posted November 12, 2014 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      Other than the continuing robot invasion of Mars.

    • Posted November 12, 2014 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      We do have a robot crawling around on Mars. At least one.

      • dorcheat
        Posted November 12, 2014 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

        Two active Mars rovers currently. The Opportunity Rover has been active for over ten Earth years while the Curiosity rover has been exploring since August of 2012.

        The Cassini mission still continues to orbit Saturn as well. It sure would be nice to have orbiters for Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune to complete the study of the planets our solar system minus the Trans-Neptunian objects such as Sedna, Eris, Makemake, Haumea, etc…

        • Posted November 12, 2014 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

          Curiosity’s been there over two years?! Wow.

          /@

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted November 12, 2014 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

          to complete the study of the planets our solar system minus the Trans-Neptunian objects such as Sedna, Eris, Makemake, Haumea, etc…

          New Horizons.
          Fly-by in a year.

          • dorcheat
            Posted November 12, 2014 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

            Righto. Pluto is considered a Trans-Neptuniun object. July of 2015 is the flyby time. Also NASA will switch the spacecraft sensors completely on in some three weeks during the first week of December. Exciting times indeed!

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted November 14, 2014 at 9:45 am | Permalink

              To be honest, when the IAU’s bun fight over classifying PLuto was going on, I took the “if it’s a sphere (to a certain precision) then it’s a planet. Which would have made PLuto about the 10th planet discovered, Neptune the 9th, and inserted Ceres, Vesta and maybe a couple of other asteroids into the list ahead of PLuto. Of course, it took into the 1940s and 1950s to start to acquire sufficient light-curve data to demonstrate closeness to sphericity.
              Did I do any of the planetary symbols in my last bout of Unicoding?
              Fraid not 🙀 (U+1F640 ; WEARY CAT FACE 😉 I’ll consider it at the weekend.

    • Posted November 12, 2014 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      You lost out on the Higgs bosun too.

      The Superconducting Super Collider would have been twice as Super as any other machine ever built.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted November 12, 2014 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

      NASA did participate but I’m not sure how. A small Canadian company did the communications.

      • Chris
        Posted November 12, 2014 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

        I think that NASA has 3 experiments on board the Rosetta craft.

      • Mark Sturtevant
        Posted November 12, 2014 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

        NASA is doing the mission to Pluto. That is going to be interesting. And its a lot farther than this comet.
        So lets not have any more dissing of ‘Merica, ok?
        USA! USA!

    • Filippo
      Posted November 16, 2014 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      I’ve no doubt that there’s at least one navel-gazing Exceptional Amuricun who resents any non-Amuricun accomplishing something. (Speaking as an Amuricun mahself.)

  5. Posted November 12, 2014 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    This is just so amazing and cool. For once I don’t have much more than that to say. I’m just watching in wonder.

    • JT
      Posted November 12, 2014 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

      It almost brought a tear to my eye. It’s truly amazing what our species can do when we use the understanding and innovations provided by science to complement our curiosity of the Cosmos. I am utterly amazed and deeply humbled by this achievement.

      • Posted November 12, 2014 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

        It brought more than on tear to my eye. Lump in throat too…

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted November 12, 2014 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

        Don’t worry, our species will do something stupid to restore normality.

  6. Mark R.
    Posted November 12, 2014 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Still no confirmation of the anchors being set. The tension is killing me!

    • Posted November 12, 2014 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      Apparently it bounced, landed somewhere else, and is out of radio contact for at least half a day.

  7. Posted November 12, 2014 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Latest
    19.20 That’s all for today. It’s been quite emotional, and it’s not over yet. Where is Philae? It seems that nobody knows at the moment. A press conference is scheduled for 2pm tomorrow so we should get some more updates by then. Wherever it is, it has been a remarkable day for science.
    19.10 So it appears that the Philae lander bounced when it hit the comet and lifted off once more before settling somewhere away from original touchdown site. Scientists have also lost the radio link because the probe is now below the horizon and will not be contactable until tomorrow morning.

    From the Telegraph

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted November 12, 2014 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

      I was wondering if shooting anchors into the surface might to that. Action and reaction.
      But I do not know how the anchor mechanism actually works.

  8. Dave
    Posted November 12, 2014 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    It’s at times like this that I feel truly sorry for the devoutly religious. While we’re content to know that we live in a vast and mysterious universe whose secrets we’ll never fully understand – but which we can explore and chip away at bit by bit, learning a little more with each year, each generation, each century – they remain locked in their mental prisons, their minds filled with desiccated dogma, living in their little 6000-year old universe, filled with ghosts, demons, “prophecies” “sins” and all the other vacuous nonsense that’s all they have to show for 3000 years of wasted effort. As rationalists and scientists we have the courage to explore the unknown, revelling in the fact that we don’t know what we’re going to find, and that what we do find may even require us to ditch a lot of our earlier ideas. They live in constant fear that their god is going to torture them forever if they do, say, think, see or eat the wrong thing.

    Science has just reached out and touched another world 300 million miles away, less than one human lifetime since the first rocket left the Earth’s atmosphere. If the priests, imams, mystics and mullahs study their “holy” books for another thousand years they won’t be any closer to telling us what god “really” wants than they are now. They should reflect on that, but of course they won’t.

    • Posted November 12, 2014 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

      Well put.

    • Posted November 12, 2014 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      I’ll add my “well put” too.

    • Luis
      Posted November 12, 2014 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      It was particularly nice to see women scientists as part of the control center, celebrating along with the men. What a difference from those nations where women are not even allowed to study, let alone be scientific leaders along there male partners!

      • Posted November 12, 2014 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

        Hear, hear!

        • Mark R.
          Posted November 12, 2014 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

          great thread!

  9. bonetired
    Posted November 12, 2014 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    And remember that this was done with technology that is probably about 15 years old.

    • Chris
      Posted November 12, 2014 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      At least!

  10. Rory
    Posted November 12, 2014 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    The GIF cartoon sequence is wonderful. Thanks Randall Monroe and Tanya Harrison!

  11. Posted November 12, 2014 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Congratulations ESA and the Rosetta team! Well done. Great to see this after all the NASA cuts here and the commercial space flops in the last couples of weeks.

    Really lifts my mood.

    Nice comics series xkcd! Love it!

    Can’t wait to see the images from the comet surface.

    I hope they get those harpoons deployed!

    • Filippo
      Posted November 16, 2014 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      Yep, Biz-ness tends to pop its collective bill about being able to do anything better than Guvmint.

      • Posted November 16, 2014 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

        Don’t you mean Bid-ness:-)

  12. Posted November 12, 2014 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    Sub

  13. Posted November 12, 2014 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    As far as I know, none of the scriptures of any of the religions predicted that humans would put a spacecraft on a comet. Well the scriptures also failed to predict humans going into space, they also failed to predict the industrial revolution or 21st century technology.
    I’m pleased to see that for this mission ESA has used names associated with ancient Egypt – Rosetta Stone, Philae island, Agilkia Island, Osiris, Ptolemy. They have also used the name Midas which has links to ancient Greek mythology.

    ESA used Osiris as an acronym for (Optical, Spectroscopic, and Infrared Remote Imaging System)The camera system has a narrow-angle lens (700 mm) and a wide-angle lens (140 mm), with a 2048×2048 pixel CCD chip

    MIDAS (Micro-Imaging Dust Analysis System). The high-resolution atomic force microscope will investigate several physical aspects of the dust particles which are deposited on a silicon plat

    From Wikipedia about Philae island in lake Nasser;
    Philae was so much resorted to, partly by pilgrims to the tomb of Osiris, partly by persons on secular errands, that the priests petitioned Ptolemy Physcon (170-117 BC) to prohibit public functionaries at least from coming there and living at their expense. In the 19th century AD, William John Bankes took the Philae obelisk on which this petition was engraved to England. When its Egyptian hieroglyphs were compared with those of the Rosetta stone, it threw great light upon the Egyptian consonantal alphabet.

    • gluonspring
      Posted November 12, 2014 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

      “Well the scriptures also failed to predict humans going into space,”

      Let’s face it, they failed to even predict “space” as we know it to go into.

    • Posted November 13, 2014 at 1:34 am | Permalink

      The Philae Obelisk now stands in the garden of a stately home in Dorset. There is something just wrong about that.

  14. Posted November 12, 2014 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Mind-boggling and astounding accomplishment. Hurrah for science! Congratulations to all involved in this project.

  15. Pliny the in Between
    Posted November 12, 2014 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Truly amazing. As someone who works in the AI realm I have great admiration for the effort it took to accomplish this.

    Sadly, I was also moved to add a bit of snark to the accomplishment in comparison to the age when much of our current theology was refined.

    http://pictoraltheology.blogspot.com/2014/11/the-law-of-unforseen-consequences.html

  16. Diane G.
    Posted November 12, 2014 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    Such a thrill!

    How can this be the same species that also brought us ISIS?

    • Posted November 12, 2014 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

      It’s like what the aliens in Contact say to Dr Arroway. You do some great stuff, you do some shit stuff. Words still out on if you’re going to make it as a species.

      • Diane G.
        Posted November 12, 2014 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

        Yes, it is.

        (Finally a pop culture ref I get. I guess if you go back far enough…)

      • Pali
        Posted November 12, 2014 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

        Kind of Q’s overall message in TNG as well.

        • Filippo
          Posted November 16, 2014 at 11:49 am | Permalink

          Yes. But Q sure act bloody human, eh?

  17. Posted November 12, 2014 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    @ Matthew– many thanks for the xkcd gif– a great addition!

    GCM

  18. Posted November 13, 2014 at 3:58 am | Permalink

    …again
    BOING
    & again
    BOING
    & again!
    bomp…

    Oh – no sound in space!
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-trending-30023776

    • Posted November 13, 2014 at 7:00 am | Permalink

      It sounds like leaf hoppers, whose sound also requires a lot of magnification for humans to hear. Clearly leaf hoppers are aliens delivered to earth via comets.

      QED

  19. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted November 13, 2014 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Everyone is still worried about the exact status of the lander, but in a BBC Web page was a more amusing comment.

    1364. Posted by Kevin1958on 4 hours ago
    This comet was removed because the moderators felt it may have broken the philae lander.

    Good luck to the guys and guyesses working to get the most out of the mission.

    • Filippo
      Posted November 16, 2014 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      ” . . . guys and guyesses . . . .”

      Ever notice how a group of males and females are addressed as “guys,” but never as “gals”?


2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] see Greg Mayer’s post, “Philae has landed!” on Why Evolution Is […]

  2. […] In case this don’t work for you: https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2014/11/12/philae-has-landed/ […]

%d bloggers like this: