Hey, all -

First: exciting things happened this week! Ms. Kjonaas generously helped to compile a lot of the cool information that you can find below.

Second: if you're bored this Saturday, and want to not be bored, we're planning on going to see Interstellar at Providence Place at 4:15pm! (Standard, not IMAX.) If you're interested, please let me know!

Have a great end of the week -


Events and Information

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Wednesday, Nov. 12

Rosetta, the first mission to orbit a comet, successfully landed its probe, Philae, on Comet 67P on Wednesday. Landing a probe on a comet is an incredibly challenging task - you can read more about the landing here.

It has recently come to light that the landing was not quite smooth - Philae bounced twice and ultimately landed on its side in the shadow of a cliff. Its solar panels will not be able to collect enough energy to keep it powered past the life of the battery, making the mission a race against time. The European Space Agency is looking into how they might repurpose the drill or harpoon located on the lander to give it a jolt.

The descent took seven hours, after a long ten years of travelling through space to rendezvous with the comet. Rosetta was launched in March of 2004 and traveled a total of 6.4 billion kilometers.

Above: the first photo of Philae on Comet 67P. It’s a composite photo, taken by a camera on the orbiter.

Below: a video (released before the landing) of the process by which the Philae lander descended.

Rosetta: landing on a comet

Protoplanetary Disk Image

For the first time we have an image of a protoplanetary disk -- hot gas and dust swirling together to form a star and its orbiting planets. The young star in the center of this disk has already ignited, and planets are starting to form. It’s a beautiful image, but it’s also very important scientifically to finally observe the formation of a solar system. This is also what our solar system looked like almost five billion years ago!

Article here.

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Carl Sagan

Carl Sagan's birthday was this Sunday, so here are "19 Awesome Things About Carl Sagan Other Than Cosmos." Check out the movie "Contact," based on Sagan's book of the same title!
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