I may have missed this bit in the article.
Philae is scheduled to detach from Rosetta on 12 November 2014 at 08:35 UTC, with a landing seven hours later
The European Space Agency is at the eve of one of its most ambitious projects: the passive landing of a small scientific craft on the surface of a comet that’s hurtling through space at over 60,000kmph. Your El Reg correspondent will be reporting from the ESA control centre at Darmstadt, Germany, bringing you the story as it …
Is "fridge-sized" now an official El Reg unit? If so, can you give some guidance on interpreting it in more conventional units? For example, I own both a "beer fridge" and an "American style" fridge freezer - one is roughly a 2 foot cube and the other is about 6 feet high, 6 feet wide and 3 feet deep*. Which of these is officially "fridge-sized"?
* obviously this latter is the beer fridge!
For those of you new to these climes, TheRegister is not new at this and in fact we have standards to adhere to. Are we positing a new standard?
And for all your conversion needs:
Saw video of a brilliant experiment recently - a feather and a bowling ball were dropped from height on one of NASA's larger vacuum chambers...
Was freaky to watch them descend at exactly the speed! I know the Neutonian maths proves it will be the case, but making your brain accept it fully without seeing it is something else.
Er, we did that feather-and-ball experiment at school in a one-meter vacuum tube, many moons ago.
Nonetheless, isn't it impressive to think this thing just falls down from 20km up, and reaches ground after seven hours and at walking speed? Try that, Franz Baumgarnter!
".., sound travels pretty well through rock ..."
Yes it does, but how will the sound be coupled to the rock through the vacuum at the comet's surface. Maybe Philae will smear it with a big blob of K-Y Jelly? Maybe it's actually radar and not sonar? The devil is always in the details.
"Sonar? In space?"
Yes, sonar will work perfectly well through ice and/or rock once the craft is in physical contact with the comet.
Alternatively, it's space sonar modelled on British linguistic behaviour when in foreign climes - it will modulate slowly but very, very loudly...
In space, no one can hear you ping?
Or is it more like drumming its fingers on the cometary desk?
Try it - ear hard on the desk and listen carefully as you drum your fingers on the desk ... now move the fingers around and listen to the variation in response and relate that to mass of rubbish on the desk. Now, explain to the boss what you were just doing ...
If it possible that life here was seeded from comets, may we ponder from where this proto-DNA might have come? Might it be that some other civilisation, remote in space and time, faced with the impracticalities/impossibilities of sending actual living bodies on such a journey, decided to send just amino acids?
If not, are there any grounds to think that the natural formation of such building-blocks of life is more likely to have occurred elsewhere than hereabouts, cosmically speaking. (I guess so, since there is vastly more of everything elsewhere than there is hereabouts, cosmically speaking.)
Do we know if this particular comet originated from the Kuiper Belt or the Oort Cloud? (And don't these both count as fairly local, cosmically speaking?)
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