September 5th, 2016

Philae: like finding a needle in a haystack

Every now and then I lose something and can’t find it, or it takes me a long time to find it.

My favorite earring fell off in my car, and seemed to completely disappear. Several years later I found it under a mat.

My bluetooth is continually leaping out of my ear and wedging itself in the strangest of hiding places.

Right after my husband and I were married, we were moving cross-country and we stored most of the wedding presents in my parents’ attic. He also lost some eyeglasses, although we never connected those two events. It took about three years for us to get a big enough place to be able to ship our stuff from my parents’ attic to where we were now living. When we opened one of the boxes, there were the glasses, which had apparently fallen out of his shirt pocket while he was packing up our wedding haul.

And on and on and on. Lose it, and no matter how hard you look, sometimes you just can’t find what you lost.

But sometimes you can.

Which brings us to this:

Philae, Europe’s comet space lander that went missing nearly two years ago after its batteries ran down, has finally been found wedged into a dark crack on Comet 67P.

The discovery was made by the European Space Agency’s craft Rosetta, which came within 2.7km of the surface of the comet and used a high-resolution camera to capture the main body of the lander along with two out of three of its legs on Friday.

Philae went missing after completing a soft-landing on icy dirt-ball 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in November 2014.

On landing, the probe’s harpoons did not fire to keep it anchored to the surface and it bounced a number of times, before settling in the shadow of a cliff where its solar panels could not pick up enough energy to keep it going.

…“This remarkable discovery comes at the end of a long, painstaking search,” [Patrick Martin, ESA’s Rosetta mission manager] said. “It is incredible we have captured this at the final hour.”

It seems to be a close relative of my bluetooth:


4 Responses to “Philae: like finding a needle in a haystack”

  1. Vanderleun Says:

    Funny how, whenever you do find something, it’s always in the last place you look.

  2. Matt_SE Says:

    So that’s where I left my car keys! On an asteroid!

  3. OM Says:

    The other rule of lost things (besides looking in the last place first) is that the lost item will be found once the replacement has been purchased or made anew. However, if the lost item is unique and irreplaceable you are truly out of luck.

  4. Philip Says:

    Found: Lost Space Probe

    To claim, please call number #######. Please be prepared to describe your probe. Normal shipping and handling fees apply.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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