Nerdettes weblog

Just another view of/by

ESA Rosetta cometlander Philae wakes up! Where did she hide on 67P Churyumov Gerasimenko?

On March 2nd, 2004, the ESA Satellite Rosetta was launched. On board, a little comet lander called Philae, from the Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, meant to land on some comet and investigate it.

Solar System: Rosetta's journey

After a long journey, passing by several planets, and on which both Rosetta and Philae were put in hybernation, all action started 10 years later. Due to a launch delay second choice comet 67P Churyumov Gerasimenko was in sight and looked initially like a giant rubber duck. But when Rosetta and Philae came closer by, it looked more and more impressive and scientists were amazed by the great images that came back from Rosetta. What looked like a little funny dot in July 2014 was an impressively duckshaped ball of ice and rock in August 2014.

Potential Landing spots were chosen (copyright ESA) and names were given to the landing zones by PR campaigns via twitter, facebook and google+.

And then, it was time to let Philae go, let her float off to 67P and continue her job on site.

About 6 hours later, we got the signal from Philae’s instruments she made a touch down.

Yes, we landed on a comet.

And we got data back from Philae! Here’s the “Day shift” Andrea Accomazzo telling the “Night shift” Sylvain Lodiot our Rosetta had contact with our DLR Comet Lander Philae.

(image taken from internet as example)

We then ran off to the Project room and there we had the scientists standing around one little laptop, which showed the first images coming back. They were completely outrageous, happy, hugging each other and it was rather emotional. They were all excited to see the first images, and they looked like this:

On the table we had all the high-res images made by Rosetta from the comet layed out in order like a giant “google maps” image to figure out the next question: “But where did we land?”.

On this map of stacked black-and-white pictures, showing craters and boulders, icy bits and shades, there was one tiny little triangle near the edge that wasn’t covered by a picture but showed the picture. And one of the mission people pointed at that gap, saying “I guess there”.

As Fred Jansen, former Rosetta Mission Manager, ESA, said, when being asked how it was possible that hardware that had to last 10 years in space, managed to wake up at a remote signal, started working and then even brings in new data, as if they’d never been on a 10 year journey, never mind hybernation: “My car is also 20 years old, but when I turn the key it starts and it drives”.

Despite a lot of scientists were more than tired, not having slept for over 24 hours, we still gathered together for a little “prost”.

After the Cometlander Philae made her famous now-called landing-ding-ding, she sent quite a lot of data for the first days. But then, as her loyal host on the journey, ESA’s satellite Rosetta, couldn’t find her anymore in the dark areas of the comet, she got quiet and ESA lost contact on November 2014, after having received loads of interesting data.

Also she set another record:

List of Cometlandings by Space Agencies:
1.) esa
2.) esa
3.) esa

All that work makes tired. With Philae stuck in a corner in the shade of some edge of the comet, the sunlight is not enough to keep the battery charged.

And then it got quiet. Very quiet.

Waking up
But on Saturday, June 13th 2015, 7 months after Philae got to sleep, all of a sudden there was a great message:

DLR’s cometlander Philae is alive again and sending a signal, the battery had been recharged in the time Rosetta and Philae got closer to the sun and the dark spot Philae was in was now sunlit enough (3 hours/day) to warm up Philae. It’s instruments, and better; it’s battery has been recharged so it could wake up and contact Rosetta. And so it did. Philae called home.

Rosetta is however a bit further away from the comet at the moment, as with the increasing heat, while approaching the sun, the comet bursts into life as well. Spouts of water vapor and dust are being dumped into the sky as the comet heats up, so it is difficult to get Rosetta closer by. But then, Philae is a tough little lander and she manages perfectly well to send her data to Rosetta.

Rosetta picture from P67 beginning of June 2015, taken from about 200km distance – copyright ESA

So much about some background details.

My Jr. asked me how big comet 67P Churyumov Gerasimenko actually is, compared to where we live, or are. He knows the Philae 1:1 scale model that was probing the pack of stroopwafels Marieke Baan brought in. But “Chury” is a bit bigger than what you can see in the background.

And thankfully, ESA has put on some comparison pictures. So here they are;

67P Churyumov Gerasimenko in the IJsselmeer, the Netherlands

(Image requested by Marieke Baan, who brought me a nice pack of fresh dutch stroopwafels ;)

67P Churyumov Gerasimenko over Darmstadt

67P Churyumov Gerasimenko over Amsterdam

67P Churyumov Gerasimenko over Madrid

67P Churyumov Gerasimenko over Paris

67P Churyumov Gerasimenko over London

Oh, and yes, just as a nice reference, here’s the Philae Lander Fact Sheet (pdf).

And even better:
the twitter accounts of Rosetta, Philae and it’s instruments:

The main characters:

* ESA Rosetta
* ESA Operations (ESOC) in Darmstadt
* Philae Lander from DLR
* DLR (english)

Philae’s instruments:

MUlti PUrpose Sensor. One of the instruments on the Rosetta Philae Lander. Measuring thermal and physical properties on the surface of a comet.
My name is ROMAP (Rosetta Lander Magnetometer and Plasma Monitor) and I am an instrument aboard the Philae lander on ESA’s Rosetta mission
* Ptolemy
An instrument associated with ESA’s Rosetta mission; we are with Philae, now on the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko
Evolved Gas Analyser, to determine the chemical composition of the comet material.

More raw footage 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami

Because the power of nature never ceases to amaze me …

The actual 9.0 Japan 2011 Earthquake via live cams:

15 minutes of stomach crunching movements

Liquefaction: earth moving and water starting to flow:

And this is only the beginning. What happens after the 6 minute quake shows it’s damage


The start at the seafront:

What starts as a small city with curious people watching the river going reverse, ends up in an inferno

Streets turning into rivers

The whirlpool:

At the Sendai Airport Airport:

Fukushima explosion live cam reaktor 4:

More via Joseph Friedman on Youtube

Refreshing Mint Syrup – self made!

This afternoon I stumbled over a recipe of one of my favorite drinks: Mint Syrup.
Source: Stadtdruide

As I have this growing on my balcony and in the garden I decided to give it a try.

What you need:
- Mint leaves
- Sugar
- Pimer/Blender
- More sugar
- Water
- A jar or bottle to put it in
- A filter and filter paper – or a fine towel.

Collect about 2 big hands full of leaves and clean them well with cold water.
Due to the strong taste not many insects will like them though, but there are some little ones that like these leaves.

- Add 200 grams of sugar (I’m going to try cane sugar next time, white sugar isn’t my favorite)
- Use the pimer to mix it up into a liquid mass

- Now add 250ml of water and another 300gr of sugar and let it boil shortly in a pan. Maximum 3 minutes. The shorter it boils, the more green the liquid will be. Let it cool down a bit.

- Either use a cloth/fine mazed towel (recommended) or a coffee filter to poor it into a bottle or a jar.

The end result will amaze you, it’s a lot healthier than the regular mint syrups available, and it’s very easy to make!

50km Fahrradtour Gernsheim – Nierstein / Hessen – Rheinland Pfalz

Today it was time for one of the first big biketrips we’ve got planned for this year. As we’re both dutches we only like the flat so there’s not much hills we’ll be climbing. But we compensate by the distance we’re cycling.

So we started off from Gernsheim, took the ferry from Hessen to Rheinland-Pfalz, another Bundesland, and continued there on our trip.

What caught me most was the dutch landscape, as long as you didn’t see any hills in the background:

The road was flat, and we were cycling along the Rhine, including lines of trees next to us

To add on top, we cycled by a field filled with yellow flowers and Dutch Belted cows, calves and a bull. I know only of one field, near Gouda, the Netherlands, where they’ve got this rare breed, but here they’re present as well. I had to cycle back to take the picture, and Jr. never knew why I was smiling so much :)

Not much later our R6 route was apparently blocked so we had to take the kind-of-D-tour which went towards Guntersblum. So we got closer to the hills with the wineyards.

And so we got to the other side of the “Rheingraben”; our “earthquake valley“; continuing our trip over quite some bad roads, but at least they were heading in the right direction.

So not much later we headed towards the churches of Oppenheim, the Katharinnenkirche, which was visible throughout the village Oppenheim, which we were cycling through. We, at least I, had to wait until the clouds were gone and the church was showing it’s bright dark red colour in the sun.

We followed our road through Oppenheim, directly next to the river and before we knew it, we were already at the ferry.

The ferry just arrived, so we could jump on it straight away

We only had to wait a few minutes before we would cross the Rhine river, just in between the cargo ships crossing the trip.

So we crossed the Rhine once again near Nierstein / Oppenheim and we were back from Rheinland-Pfalz into Hessen.

The name of the little restaurant on the other side, in Hessen, did ring a bell: friends already mentioned this one. But we cycled on instead of making a break, we had another 30km to go.

The Ried, or maybe even better translated in Dutch: Riet. Everywhere in this area it was present. I guess the dutch would wonder why there are no Polders here. But at least there were dikes here to keep the water our in case of high water of the Rhine.

The view north towards Nierstein / Oppenheim, the river being very wide but not very deep as we could see from the track the ships took there.

Up north I could show Jr what it means when the river has got a ‘lazy long curve’.

The water goes fastest in the inner curve compared to the outer curve where the water goes slow, is very dirty, has got a lot of debris,

And .. yes.. attracts quite a lot of mosquitoes. The amount of flies we swallowed here was quite a lot. Even smiling wasn’t an option.

Maybe the road below the dike would have been an option, but it was the wind from behind that brought us up here.

While looking for a windfree place to have lunch, we came across these here. We were quite surprised to see these here in a quite bright area in the night skies.

Not much further we were able to see “our” hill, the Melibokus, over the fields.

We continued the R6 road and all of a sudden we were into the Ried. The road in between the fields and the river turned into a track through the forest, where the middle bit had turned into a yellow guideline.

And finally I could convince Jr. to stop for a lunchbreak, although it was already quite late

For the ones that know it, this is mistletoe, present all around us.

What we also heard but not saw, was this little creature; Gryllotalpa gryllotalpa

A bit further, behind a similar bush, we saw a fox and two deer, feeding on whatever they could find up there.

And finally, we could sit down and drink and eat something, in the middle of the Ried fields. Next to us in the trees we saw 2 Aegithalos caudatus, the long-tailed bushtit.

Not much later we were in the Kühkopf (cowhead) near one of our favorite restaurants, the Forsthaus Kühkopf. They have great cakes down there, as well as strawberry wine, chocolate with cream and raspberry-flushed icecream, Jrs favorite.

When we finally arrived at our staring point, it was 5 hours later and we had covered over 50km of cycling. Jr wasn’t the only one being surprised and proud about that :)

Earthquakes in the past week: #1: Europe!

Normally I don’t compare that much when it comes to ‘our’ local earthquakes compared to the “rest of the world”.
However, after yesterday’s M6.1 near Crete, Greece, I could not resist to quickly check.

Maybe it’s because of the enormous numbers of aftershocks around Crete, but well, Europe is the absolute #1 today – even after the numerous #icequakes from the Bardarbunga.

Number of #earthquakes in the past week:
* Euro-Med: 481
* Africa & Indian Ocean: 502 (incl. Europe)
* Pacific: 327
* North America: 152
* South America: 139
* Asia: 80

Source: EMSC-CSEM’s interactive map, very interesting to see it ‘growing’)

* Euro-Med: 481

* Africa & Indian Ocean: 502 (incl. Europe)

* Pacific: 327

* North America: 152

* South America: 139

* Asia: 80