Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Rosetta-Mission: The incredible flight of the lander »Philae«

28.11.2014

Data of the „ROMAP“-Magentometer aids in reconstruction of flight path

Just a little time after Rosetta lander „Philae“ touched down on a comet it was clear that the mission was not continuing as expected, because the lander bounced off the surface. The international team of scientists lead by geophysicist Dr. Uli Auster from the Institut für Geophysik und extraterrestische Physik was working at the „Philae“ control center at that time and followed the incredible flight of the lander.


Close up of the ROMAP-Instrument

IGEP/TU Braunschweig

The data obtained by the ROMAP magnetometer from Braunschweig immediatly showed the signatures of this bouncing and the subsequent touchdowns. With the data, the movement on the comet can be reconstructed.

Bounce: two hours above the comet

In the evening of 12th November, 2014, the scientists around Dr. Hans-Ulrich Auster were surprised when they saw the data of the ROMAP magnetometer immediately after touchdown: „With the magnetometer we can reconstuct the movement of the lander, just like the rotation of a compass needle. Consequently we could see instantly that „Philae“ bounced off the surface and finally returned after two hours. After evaluating our data we now have more information on the path to the final and still unknown landing site“ explained Dr. Auster.

Possible collision with a crater rim

Now the magnetic field data reveals that after the first touchdown „Philae“ started to rotate about its vertical axis, says Auster. The reason was that the reaction wheel, that was stabilizing the lander during descend, transferred its momentum to the freely moving lander. Within 40 minutes Philae accelerated to a rotational velocity of about 5 rpm, which is comparable to a wind turbine at low wind speeds“ says the geophysicist. But after 45 minutes the pattern changed suddenly: „The rotational velocity decreased to half the original speed, the axis tilted and the lander began to tumble. Most likely the reason was a collision with a crater rim“ summarized Dr. Auster.

Second landing decides Philae's fate

The magnetometer from Braunschweig shows that the lander tumbled above the surface for another hour before it jarringly touched down for the second time. „Then the fate of the lander was decided, which was also visible in magnetic field signatures. After first grazing the surface, „Philae“ landed on its feet at the last moment. After another seven minute bounce the lander arrived at its final position surrounded by icy walls“ say Hans-Ulrich Auster. „Although there was some luck involved, the astonishing landing impressively demonstrated that the lander was sturdy enough to not only withstand the harsh environmental conditions of space but also managed to survive this arduous landing sequence.”

ROMAP-Instrument

The Rosetta Lander Magnetometer and Plasma Monitor (ROMAP) is one of ten instruments on the lander „Philae“, that investigates the magnetic field and solar wind parameters of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko for the ESA Mission Rosetta. Lead by Dr. Hans-Ulrich Auster of the Institut für Geophysik und extraterrestrische Physik at Technische Universität Braunschweig scientists from the Energy Research center in Budapest, the Institut für Weltraumforschung Graz in Austria and the Max-Planck Institut für Sonnensystemforschung in Göttingen contribute.

Contact
Dr. Hans-Ulrich Auster
Institut für Geophysik und extraterrestrische Physik
Technische Universität Braunschweig
Mendelssohnstraße 3
38106 Braunschweig
Tel.: 0531 391-5241
E-Mail: uli.auster@tu-braunschweig.de
www.igep.tu-bs.de


Weitere Informationen:

http://blogs.tu-braunschweig.de/presseinformationen/?p=7684

Stephan Nachtigall | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht A tale of two pulsars' tails: Plumes offer geometry lessons to astronomers
18.01.2017 | Penn State

nachricht Studying fundamental particles in materials
17.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Struktur und Dynamik der Materie

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A big nano boost for solar cells

18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Glass's off-kilter harmonies

18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Toward a 'smart' patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed

18.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>