Philae

Philae


Whoa what a rush!!!  Those nice folks at the JPL didn’t come close to describing how it would feel to go hurtling through space at like a bazillion miles an hour!  Wheeeeee!  BEST.  RIDE.  EVER!  My buddy Rosetta did all the hard work, really.  And I think she was kind of sad when it was time to say goodbye.  But I have a job to do and I’m really determined I’m gonna do it well.

I was so shiny and sparkly when they made the final checks to be sure I was ready to fly.  It was a real white glove event.  You could just feel the excitement!  Everybody was totally professional and all but you could tell they were stoked.  My buddy got the same careful treatment; course not in the same room cause man is she bigger!  She’s huge!  Then we were back together and got to hang out while they checked everything again.  Man these guys are kinda anal, if you know what I mean.

Anyways so they got us all ready and my buddy fired up and woo-freaking-hoo!  I think even my stoic friend got a thrill out of it.  And then we just kind of kept going.  And going.  And going.  Then going some more.  Even this great view was getting old.  Imagine being on a road trip for years without even stopping to see the world’s largest frying pan.  Seriously!  Then it came time for us to slingshot around Mars.  That was pretty awesome, not gonna lie.  Not as mind-blowing as liftoff but still pretty fun.  Then we headed back towards Earth and for a little while I thought we were going back home to those nice people at the JPL.  But we just used Earth like a slingshot only this time we passed Mars right by!  But then things got boring again.  Really boring.  Like watching paint dry boring.  My buddy and I napped for a while, ‘cause we were pretty far from the sun at this point.

But then we woke up, and my buddy was telling me it was time to say goodbye.  I was sad but I was also kinda ready to do my thing.  I mean I was made for this!  Then I got a little nervous.  What if I wasn’t any good at my job?  What if I disappointed the folks at JPL?  But then it was time and I just had to suck it up.  My buddy gave me a boost and then I was off and flying on my own!  It was amazing!  I could see C-G and it kind of reminded me of a raisin.  But it’s a rock, and soon it’s about to be My rock!

But the landing didn’t go like those science-y guys planned.  OUCH!!  I totally landed all caddy-wumpus and I’m pretty sure I sprained something.  I can’t see much, there’s this darn wall of rock next to me.  I was totally gonna sunbathe for like six or seven hours a day but that stupid wall means I can only get about an hour and a half of those golden rays.  I mean, come on!  I’m from California darn it, I need my sun fix!

Yawn.  Dunno what’s going on but I’m getting sleepy.  I’m supposed to be talking to my buddy a lot and doing all these cool experiments but I’m sooooo tired.  Plus being all sideways kinda limits what I can reach.  Maybe I’ll tell you more, later.  Gotta nap now.  Yawn.  Zzzzzzzz.

 

**Author’s note: This story is told from the perspective of the European Space Agency’s comet lander probe Philae which was taken to comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko for scientific exploration and discovery by the spacecraft Rosetta.  It took years from launch, and gravity assists from both Earth and Mars to achieve this feat, a first of its kind.  However Philae landed awkwardly, after bouncing on the comet’s low gravity surface, and hasn’t been able to get much sunlight.  Thus Philae entered hibernation.  For a short time in 2015 Philae sent sporadic messages back to Earth before returning to hibernation.  It is unknown when or if Philae will “wake up” again.  In spite of all this the successful navigation to C-G and the landing on an actual comet is pretty extraordinary.  I for one cannot wait to see what’s next.

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