Excellent news from Emily Lakdawalla via her Planetary Society blog:
A long-awaited data set is finally public (well, long-awaited by me, at least). The Rosetta team has now published their data from the July 10, 2010, flyby of asteroid (21) Lutetia. At the time, it was the largest asteroid yet visited by a spacecraft, so it dominated the asteroids and comets montage poster I put together.
This data set is absolutely stunning, and my friends in the amateur image processing community wasted no time in creating art out of it. First, I give you a movie of Rosetta's flyby, processed by Ian Regan. The flickering occurs because Rosetta was cycling through different-color filters as it flew past. I had to play this one a few times. Wow.
Europe's Rosetta spacecraft is en route to intercept a comet-- and to make history. In 2014, Rosetta will enter orbit around 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and land a probe on it for a front row seat as the comet heads toward the sun. Many thanks to our NASA colleauges for a cool video!
Presenters include the ESA Director of Science and Robotic Exploration, Alvaro Gimenez, the ESA Director of Human Spaceflight and Operations, Thomas Reiter, former ESA Director of Science and Robotic Exploration, David Southwood, as well as leading Solar System and planetary scientists, including Roger Bonnet, Executive Director of the International Space Science Institute, Uwe Keller, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Gerhard Schwehm, ESA's Rosetta Mission Manager, Rita Schulz, ESA's Rosetta Project Scientist, and Anny-Chantal Levasseur-Regourd, Giotto OPE Principal Investigator from UPMC/CNRS, Paris.
A listing of all #coolcomet Twitter campaign entries ranked by the judges in the 'Honourable mention' and 'Made us chuckle' categories (note 'very rough' EN translation for any entries not in English).
In the image below, Rosetta Operations Manager Andrea Accomazzo gestures happily in the Rosetta control room at ESOC today, just moments after the final command was sent to Rosetta to trigger a 31-month hibernation until January 2014.
The automated start of Rosetta's spin-up manoeuvre took place as scheduled this morning at 10:00 CEST. In this image, ESA's Paolo Ferri and Gerhard Schwehm stand at right while Roberto Porta and Sylvain Lodiot watch the plot coming in from NASA's DSN station at Canberra, Australia. Team are all rather pleased with progress so far! -- Daniel
A nice little update this morning! Our friend and past ESA blog contributor Bertrand Pinel, from France, sent in this screenshot showing the track of the Rosetta radio signal carrier shortly after the GO/NO-GO decision last night and start of the spacecraft's automated hibernation entry sequence (23:47CEST). Bertrand points out that the start of Rosetta's spin up and the switch off today won't be 'visible' to hsi radio equipment because the probe won't be over Europe when it happens (starting in about 30 minutes).
Bertrand is a keen amateur radio astronomer and always amazes us with what he can achieve with home-made equipment! He's contributed to the Mars Express blog in the past (see pictures of Bertrand and some of his equipment here). Merci, Bertrand...and thanks to ESA's Thomas Ormston on the Mars Express team for passing on the details. -- Daniel
Quick update from the Rosetta dedicated Control Room this AM: Contact via NASA's 70m deep space station at Canberra has been established - you can see signals arriving from Rosetta on screen in the third photo below. Later today, NASA Goldstone and ESA New Norcia will also come on line, so there is plenty of back up available.
Spacecraft Operations Manager Andrea Accomazzo says that the execution of the on-board sequence to prepare the craft for hibernation is on track! Next big milestone comes just after 10:00 CEST today - start of the spin-up manoeuvre. -- Daniel
Spacecraft Operations Manager Andrea Accomazzo (standing) with Rosetta engineers Roberto Porta (L) and Sylvain Lodiot (at console) at ESOC, Darmstadt, monitor signals from Rosetta via NASA's Canberra deep space station.
Clock counts down time to next major on-board event: start of spin-up manoeuvre, due at about 10:00 CEST.
Watching signals from Rosetta as the spacecraft conducts an automated switch-over into final pre-hibernation mode.
An update just in tonight from Spacecraft Operations Manager Andrea Accomazzo in the Rosetta Dedicated Control Room at ESOC.
The 'GO' telecommand, which starts the ball rolling on board Rosetta for final automated sequence for hibernation entry, was sent yesterday evening at 21:47 UTC (23:47 CEST). The team at ESOC saw it execute on board the spacecraft about one hour later, at 00:47 CEST, which confirms satellite is on track for hibernation later today.
Basically, the entire sequence to command entering into hibernation is loaded on board and will start automatically, stopping only to wait for the final (manual) command to complete shut-down, due after 13:00 CEST.
Next big event? The spin up manoeuvre at 10:00 CEST today. -- Daniel
View of Canberra 70m (230 ft.) antenna with flags from the three Deep Space Network sites. The Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, located outside Canberra, Australia, is one of the three complexes which comprise NASA's Deep Space Network. The other complexes are located in Goldstone, California, and Madrid, Spain. Credit: NASA
DSS 43 is scheduled to contact Rosetta starting at 07:20 CEST on Wednesday, 8 June.
Do you use Twitter? Are you as intrigued by comets as we are? Then tell us 'Why comets are cool' and you might win a trip to ESA's operations centre in Germany on 15 June to celebrate 25 years of comet exploration.
On 15 June, ESA will mark a quarter-century of comet science and say (temporarily) 'good night' to Rosetta with a special event at ESOC in Darmstadt, Germany. One talented Twitter user will be selected to join us as our guest at the event.
Between now and 9 June, you're invited to tell us, via Twitter, why comets are cool.
To take part, simply tweet your entry. It must include the "#coolcomet" hashtag, leaving you a mere 130 characters, so brevity is important.
Your tweet may also include a single URL, or weblink, that links to a 'non-text' submission, such as a picture, image, photo, animation, video, audio file or any other sort of digital content. Maybe you can sing a song about comets, and submit a link to a video of you singing in YouTube? (The judges will look unfavourably on any content that takes longer than 3 minutes to view).
We'll review all submissions and our expert judging panel will grade tweets for clarity, wit, humour, scientific accuracy and originality (and, yes, spelling counts).