Jun 26 2015

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No…no conspiracy here….

It’s been almost two weeks since Philae woke up, but there’s been little news from Philae since it reconnected with ESA controllers. What gives?

Here’s the latest from ESA:

Confirmed contacts between Rosetta and Philae have been made on 13, 14, 19, 20, 21, 23, and 24 June, but were intermittent during those contact periods. For example, the contact on 19 June was stable but split into two short periods of two minutes each. Conversely, the contact on 24 June started at 17:20 UT (on board Rosetta) and ran for 20 minutes, but the quality of the link was very patchy and only about 80 packets of telemetry were received. Prior to this, on Tuesday, 23 June, there was a 20-second contact, but no stable link was established and consequently no telemetry data were received.

Part of the problem is that Philae only gets about 3 hours of sunlight each day, and those three hours have to coincide with Rosetta being overhead so that Philae has both the power and a line of sight to Rosetta. I still don’t think they know where Philae’s landing spot is — surely they would have at least put that out to the public if they knew.

That said, I’m feeling pretty good about my landing site prediction. ESA’s predicted landing spot almost certainly gets more than 3 hours of sunlight a day, whereas my landing location (down in the neck of the comet) would seem to spend most of the time in shadow.

Just sayin’…

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/06/26/no-no-conspiracy-here/

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