Landing on a Comet ! Wow!

Yesterday I sat glued to the internet video stream from ESA HQ in Germany tensely waiting to hear, via the orbiter Rosetta that the lander Philae had made it to the surface. When it did and the cheers started to ripple around the feed I had a definite lump in my throat and tear in my eye. I was watching it with predlet 2.0. He had asked if he could play Minecraft and for once I said No, watch this!. Of course without the history behind it all it was just a few people sitting looking at a screen, no commentary. So tried to explain the enormity of what we were waiting for. The fact the probe launched (10 years ago) before he was born is pretty amazing and the fact that the project started 20 years equally so. Though that makes less impact. I think my enthusiastic cheer when it landed probably got it across to him though.
It is truly awe inspiring that people have gathered together across countries to put together a massive project to land a tiny machine on a comet 300 million miles away in order to then perform some experiments and determine what the makeup of the comet is.
It transcends all the ridiculous austerity measures and the greed of those with the worlds wealth. This helps the human race and give some sense of purpose. We need more of this!
This image came from the surface of the comet!
Image on a coment
So we watched this on a 70mbps fibre optic internet stream, live via a web browser on a PS4 games console, whilst also second screening BBC news in iplayer on a small touchscreen wifi enabled device (iPhone), whilst also follow the tweets from the landers account too. I was sharing it with my son in person but also with my friends around the world who were also tuned in. 10 years ago when the probe launched none of the ways we engaged with the landing existed in any mainstream form.
I am sure there are some naysayers who will argue we need to sort this planet out first, but I think we need to sort this planet out as well! This sort of project provides hope and unity. It inspires generations (just as the moon landings did to me when I was just a toddler). That makes it a great investment. We learn lots about our past, help figure out our future but also the will and the passion can be turned back to earth, as log as we don’t let commercial greed take over.
What an awesome experience, and I hope, despite the 3 bounces that the lander continues to fulfil it’s mission. Though as the scientists have been saying when asked what happens now, the answer is, we don’t know, that why we do this sort of science to find out.

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