Good job, Philae lander

As an American baby boomer who came of age during the Space Race, I am in absolute awe of the picture I saw this morning.

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/photo/philae-probe-sends-back-first-photo-surface-comet-n247586

The European Space Agency’s comet lander, Philae, has sent back the first image from Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

Holy cow!

That a mechanical device could be launched from Earth, travel 10 years through deep space and then land on a comet, for crying out loud, is enough of a scientific marvel all by itself.

Now we’re getting pictures that are being sent more than 300 million miles from Earth. What’s more, the clarity is astounding beyond measure.

I saw the news report earlier this week when Philae landed on the comet and watched space agency engineers cheering, back-slapping and hugging each other. It reminded me of the reaction at NASA when, for instance, the late Neil Armstrong told the world: “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.”

Oh, those were the days.

I’m glad the ESA has accomplished this monumental feat. I’m delighted to see the pictures. A part of me, though, is a bit envious of the spectacular success that someone else has just achieved.

 

 

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