Hervey Bay Independent : 27th November 2014
Another giant leap for mankind On November 12, the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission landed a probe on the surface of the comet 67P Churyumov– Gerasimenko as it hurtled through space at around 67,000km/hr. University of Southern Queensland astrophysicist Dr Jonti Horner (pictured) told the Indy the landing was an historic event that would hopefully inspire the next generation of star gazers to pursue careers in science and discovery. “We have an ongoing problem getting young people and particularly women into science, technology and maths,” Dr Horner said. “Events like this are what get people excited and interested in science - we’re doing something that’s pushing the boundaries.” The Rosetta craft was launched by the European Space Agency in 2004. After travelling through space for 10 years and racking-up more than 6 billion kilometres, Rosetta entered an orbit around 67P in August. On November 12, it dropped its probe Philae. Philae’s landing was a rough one; the probe sustained some damage to its solar panels and ended up in a shadowed area on the comet’s surface. Dr Horner said Philae’s solar panels were always going to be its primary source of power, since it was nearly impossible to create batteries that would last the long journey. In the last week, the lack of sunlight hitting Philae’s solar panels has caused the probe to enter a deep sleep - but not before it sniffed out some organic particles in the comet’s atmosphere. Dr Horner said scientists involved in the groundbreaking mission were hoping that as 67P travels closer to the sun, the amount of sunlight hitting Philae’s solar panels will increase - waking the probe from its deep sleep. It’s a wild, one-way trip for the mechanical marvel. Dr Horner said 67P would be shedding vast quantities of rock as it hurtled through space, with the real potential of catastrophically damaging Philae and Rosetta. “It’s quite a violent situation, but the data that it gets will be so precious that it is well worth that risk,” Dr Horner said. “We will learn a lot about how our solar system formed, what this comet is made from and where it came from in our solar system.” Whether Philae will wake again to continue its data collection is still a mystery, but Dr Horner said the Rosetta mission was already a massive success. “It’s a big part of the precursor to looking for life on other planets,” Dr Horner said. “This is one step towards fi nding out if we’re alone in the universe.” SUMMER JADE CASSIE IS FILLING IN WHILE SHNAY’S ON MATERNITY LEAVE So treat yourself to a Includes regrowth colour, 10 foils, cut and finish WORX PACKAGE ONLY $ 109 * ppointments for Christmas are filling fast. Book now to avoid disappointment! *Available all day, every day. Extra $20 for refresher colour comb through for medium and long hair. Shop 3/10 Torquay Road, Pialba Hervey Bay Independent, November 27, 2014 / 37 Kawungan Chemmart Pharmacy Kawungan Plaza, Kawungan QLD 4655 P: 07 4128 3080 OPENING HOURS Mon – Fri: 8am – 6pm Sat: 8.30am – 1pm We prepackage your medicine to make it easier for you to take the right dose at the right time. Ask us if this service is right for you. Save time and let us do the sorting.
20th November 2014
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