On 30 September 2016 at 13:19 CEST, the final signal from the Rosetta orbiter was received back on Earth. The ESA mission ended when the spacecraft touched down on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The international team of scientists had already said their farewells to the Philae lander back in February 2016, when its prolonged radio silence indicated that it would no longer report back to the team in the control centre at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR).
The Philae landing craft touched down on comet on 12 November 2014. It has now been found: it is not located at the convenient site originally selected for its landing, but rather – following a series of three bounces – in a grim and dark environment.
Four days and four cases that pose a threat to maritime security – in several scenarios that took place between 5 and 9 September 2016, the EMSec joint project (Echtzeitdienste für die Maritime Sicherheit - Security; Real-Time Services for Maritime Security) was able to successfully demonstrate research findings from the last three years.
The comet lander Philae has been found. The OSIRIS camera on board the Rosetta orbiter took the revealing images of the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on 2 September 2016. They show the landing craft lying sideways in a crevasse. Two of the three landing legs are clearly visible.
In the Situation Centre, an alarm flashes on the screen – a passenger ferry has changed its planned course for no apparent reason. The AIS (Automatic Identification System) signal eventually disappears from the display. By now, all ship-specific information must have been requested and compared in order to quickly clarify the situation and take immediate action.
Headaches, nausea or even swollen hands and feet: the test subjects currently ascending at a rapid pace to Europe’s highest building to voluntarily experience altitude sickness have all of these things coming their way. Ten test subjects will gather at the Margherita Hut in the Valais Alps in Italy, where their bodies will be closely monitored to see how they respond to an altitude of 4554 metres above sea level, oxygen depletion and low air pressure. “If astronauts are stationed in a Mars habitat some time in the future, it is extremely probable that they will live and work in an atmosphere with similar pressure conditions,” explains Ulrich Limper, the mission’s medical director from the German Aerospace Center (DLR). “As things stand, though, we are unable to predict which persons will experience altitude sickness and what the causes may be.” A possible explanation: “The oxygen depletion encountered at high altitudes damages the vascular barrier, allowing fluid and proteins to seep into the connective tissue. In some instances, this will produce dangerous oedema in the body, especially in the lungs and the brain.”
It's hard to say what surprised scientists and engineers the most during the Rosetta mission: the unusual form of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko that earned it the nickname 'Rubber Duck'? The bizarre, unexpectedly varied landscape with fissures, terraces, crevasses, steep cliffs and even dune-like structures?
The exterior of a rocket is exposed to extremely high temperatures during hypersonic flight. But how exactly does the surface structure change under varying air resistance and with respect to heat flow and acceleration?
Space travel is no easy task – first comes the stressful launch with vibrations, then the long flight through the bitter cold and the vacuum. The Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout (MASCOT) has been travelling on board the Japanese Hayabusa2 spacecraft for the last one-and-a-half years, and is currently at approximately 65 million kilometres from Earth.
The small containers that are currently being disassembled at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) are rather inconspicuous, yet they may contain organisms that have endured the conditions of space for over 530 days.