back to article ESA readies Rosetta for next year's comet touchdown

More than nine years after its launch, and after a long deep-sleep, the ESA's Rosetta comet-hunter is soon to be woken up for a November 2014 rendezvous with comet comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. ESA officials will be watching the clock after 10:00 GMT on January 20, waiting to receive the signals that will tell them Rosetta …


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  1. JanMeijer

    Nothing on the barrel dimension? How are we supposed to know whether or not they would be able to fit Bruce Willis in there?

  2. spudmasterflex


    As above totally mind boggling

  3. The Cogito

    If it works

    and they find oil - Will they send Bruce willis next?

  4. Wombling_Free

    Forget Bruce Willis

    Barrel-size? Sounds perfect for fitting in Jebediah, Bill & Bob.

  5. Bronek Kozicki

    fix a leak in helium tank?

    No really, how do you do that from Earth?

    1. MrXavia

      Re: fix a leak in helium tank?

      My thoughts exactly...

      I assume they don't have an R2 unit in that probe...

      Although R2 style units would be a worthwhile investment, the amount of missions that fail on the way to places like mars, I think we need a little repair bot!

      1. Robert Harrison

        Re: fix a leak in helium tank?

        But who will fix R2 if he fails / breaks / gets shot by Darth Vader ?

        1. Sir Sham Cad

          Re: who will fix R2

          Chewbacca, obviously!

      2. Tom 13

        Re: fix a leak in helium tank?

        Me thinks that without the Force in the script, the R2 unit would be more prone to mechanical problems than the helium tank.

    2. Bobthe2nd

      Re: fix a leak in helium tank?

      Slight disconnect, think reg meant workaround;

      Paolo Ferri, head of the planetary missions division at ESA’s Esoc space operations center in Darmstadt, Germany, said Rosetta operations teams have the luxury of the 2.5-year hibernation to develop software to operate the satellite with three and, if necessary, just two reaction wheels.

      “Obviously if we had to operate the satellite and work around this problem at the same time, we would have a more serious situation,” Ferri said in an interview. “The hibernation period means we do not have to rush to a solution.”

      The propulsion problem aboard Rosetta is in the form of a leak in a helium-pressurization system that enables the propellant reservoir to direct fuel to the probe’s on-board thruster engines.

      Ferri said ESA had planned to repressurize Rosetta for future operations, allowing the satellite to maximize fuel efficiency. They have now decided against that because of the risk of aggravating the leak. The resulting operations will mean Rosetta will use more fuel than it would otherwise and will fly a less-efficient route. But Ferri said the consensus is that it will still have enough fuel to complete its comet rendezvous in mid-2014.

      More here;

  6. Robert Helpmann??

    The lander will send back humanity's first photos of a comet on its surface, and will then drill into the surface to take samples... and then explode in a thermonuclear beacon of truth and justice.

    There, fixed that for you

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