WHERE IS PHILAE?
In Gemini office’s Aura theatre we just had a great talk about the Rosetta project from astronomer Colin Snodgrass, who started the talk with ‘We not only had the first landing on a comet yesterday, we had the second and third landings too!’ This was in reference to the fact of the Philae Lander bouncing up after it landed and then landing again and shuffling to a third spot. This is not as disastrous as it sounds because a lot of great scientific data is being churned out by the lander and routed back to the Rosetta spacecraft already and even if it gets thrown off due to not being able to recharge the power systems via solar panels (seems to be in a darker area than previously planned) it is still a resounding success. The project team had really focused all their attention on a one kilometre area around the proposed landing spot and don’t have nearly as much data on where the lander is just now. However, they are all optimizing all the science systems they can with whatever time they have left.
It is such an astonishingly historic time to be around the astronomer tribe! I feel very fortunate to be perhaps the only artist doing a residency at a major observatory at this moment. I will continue to track the story and make art about it all.