For all the Geeks and Nerds out there this is something that will be incredibly exciting to watch and follow. On November 12th Nasa will be attempting to place a probe on a Comet that is currently buzzing through Space at speeds roughly around a staggering 40,500Mph! The Comet is called 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and is classed as short period Comet meaning that its Orbit is small and lasts around 6 years or so to complete its full orbit around the Sun.
This is an incredibly exciting moment for anyone who is interested in Science and Technology as this is a first – it really shows how the Space race has come an incredibly long way from where it all began in the 1950s, and of course the momentous moment when the images of man stepping on the Moon were witnessed for the very first time – this has to be up there in the enormity of this project.
It is a very important project as it is widely believed that Comets quite possibly have an influence as to why there is life on Earth, this is because they hold many properties that are some of the many important ingredients for life, if this is a real possibilty then tentatively it may propel the Science forward to getting ever closer to truly understanding the building blocks of life in the Universe as well as Earth. As the Comet is currently making its way towards the Sun and the lander is successful we may be able to watch live what it is like to be on a speeding Comet that is about to come alive – this is because the materials turn from a Solid state into a Gas from the Suns intense heat creating a large Atmosphere and sometimes the famous Comet tail- also the Comet will be racing through the Asteroid belt which will help Nasa take a look at this neighbourhood that is situated between Mars and Jupiter – exciting times indeed!
Fun Facts about Comets – They well and truly stink, due to the fabric of what they are made up of, many of the chemical elements that make up the Comet are Ammonia and Sulfur, down here on Earth we know how smelly they are so it is already now known from this mission that Comets stink like Rotten eggs and urine – gross! Also looking at pictures of Comets it looks like these so called ‘Dirty Snowballs’ are as bright as snow, well that is a trick of the eye due to the intense brightness of the Sun, the colour of Comets (and in fact the Moon) are actually pretty dark more likely the colour of Coal and Asphalt that we use to make Roads.
Vancouver has its own Space Museum called the H.R Macmillan Space Centre – this is not too far away from us, just on the South side of False Creek, you can see it from our 05 rooms, it looks like a giant Wine decanter! Check this place out, no doubt they will be closely following the event as it unfolds and will be able to provide you with some great information.
For further information please click on the following links:
European Space Agency – Rosetta Mission http://www.livecometdata.com/comets/67p-churyumov-gerasimenko/