Monday, July 18, 2016

I know what happened to Philae!

EIn a previous post, I explained the "sieve" effect of opening and closing cracks sifting boulders to generate the distribution of boulders on different gravitational slopes.

This effect, and nucleus surface cracks are ubiquitous on every area of 67P, including Abydos. On the approach to perihelion, cracks around Philae would be expanding and contracting. Philae, the size of a fridge and lying on its side, is destined to be worked and jiggled into a nearby crack. The first effect is to make barriers to communication in both reception and transmission, as both the main radio and secondary are dropped with Philae deeper into the crevice that it was already half way in. Only the extent of its legs stop Philae from sinking many meters down to the below layer of the surface. Only the strength of the sunlight and occasional fortunate alignment of Rosetta with a line of sight to its partly buried antennas enabled any transmission at all.

This would mean that finding Philae is going to be much harder! All that is likely to be visible on the surface is the legs...


 Credits: CNES/D. Ducros

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