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Tag Archive: Rosetta

  1. Rosetta inspires Vangelis

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    Legendary composer and pioneer of electronic music Vangelis has produced a brand new album, ‘Rosetta’, inspired by ESA’s Rosetta mission.

    The release of the album by Decca Records on 23 September coincides with the culmination of Rosetta’s 12-year mission to orbit and land its Philae probe on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Rosetta is set to complete its journey in a controlled descent to the surface of the comet on 30 September.

    The story of this mission fuelled Vangelis’ long-held passion for space and inspired him to create his first new studio album in 18 years.

    Vangelis’ music is often linked to themes of science, history and exploration. Alongside his Academy Award-winning score for ‘Chariots of Fire’, he has written for films including ‘Bladerunner’, ‘Antarctica’, ‘1492: Conquest of Paradise’, ‘The Bounty’ and ‘Alexander’.

    “Mythology, science and space exploration are subjects that have fascinated me since my early childhood. And they were always connected somehow with the music I write,” said Vangelis.

    ESA’s connection with Vangelis goes back several years to when ESA astronaut André Kuipers was on the International Space Station. André is a big fan and he had a lot of Vangelis’ music with him in space.

    After sharing stories and experiences with André via video call from the ISS, Vangelis was inspired to write some music for ESA to mark the landing of Philae on the comet in 2014.

    To Vangelis, music is a sacred, basic force of the Universe, its purpose to elevate, inspire and to heal humankind. Never has this been more obvious than on ‘Rosetta’, an album that perfectly blends his fascination with the Universe and his ability to compose stirring music.

    “With music, you can enhance emotions and create memories: I believe that what Vangelis wanted to do was share a lasting memory of our Rosetta mission through his music,” says Carl Walker, from ESA’s communication department.

    Vangelis has dedicated this new album to everyone who made the ESA’s ongoing Rosetta mission possible, in particular extending the track called ‘Rosetta’s Waltz’ as an expression of his appreciation to the mission team.

    “Rosetta has been an amazing journey for everybody involved, both scientifically and technically, but it has also connected emotionally with so many people around the world,” says ESA’s Prof Mark McCaughrean, senior science advisor in the Directorate of Science.

    “So you can imagine how proud we were when one of the world’s great composers Vangelis made some music for us at the time of landing, and how excited we are that he’s put together a whole album of original music about this astonishing adventure.”

  2. Philae’s wake up call

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    Europe’s tiny Philae lander on Comet 67P is now receiving twice as much solar energy as it did last November when it finally came to rest in a shaded spot.

    A communication unit on the Rosetta orbiter has been switched on to call the lander and, although it may probably still too cold for the lander to wake up,  prospects improve with each passing day.

    Several conditions must be met for Philae to start operating again. First, the interior of the lander must be at least at –45C before Philae can be induced from its winter sleep.

    At its landing site named Abydos only a little sunlight reaches Philae – and the temperatures are significantly lower than at the originally planned landing location. The lander must also be able to generate at least 5.5 watts using its solar panels to wake up.

    As soon as Philae ‘realises’ that it is receiving more than 5.5 watts of power and its internal temperature is above –45C, it will turn on, heat up further and attempt to charge its battery.

    Once awakened, Philae switches on its receiver every 30 minutes and listens for a signal from the Rosetta orbiter. This, too, can be performed in a very low power state.

    Philae needs a total of 19 watts to begin operating and allow two-way communication and it could be that the lander has already woken up from its winter sleep some 500 million km from Earth but does not yet have sufficient power to communicate with Rosetta, which relays Philae’s signal back to Earth.

    The most likely time for contact is during the 11 flybys where the orbiter’s path puts it in a particularly favourable position with respect to the lander during comet ‘daytime’ – when Philae is in sunlight and being supplied with power by its solar panels.

    Communication will be attempted continuously because Philae’s environment could have changed since landing in November 2014.