It’s an impressive feat, to say the least, but landing on a comet is something few people would have thought was possible. It’s something that would have been best left to science fiction to put together, in a Hollywood movie, but thanks to some brilliant and readily dedicated scientists – it’s been done.
In addition to the information that the Philae craft began collecting on November 12th the craft landing itself raised a lot of questions. Some wondered how well the landing would go, or if it would be possible at all. Others were curious about whether the probe would land in a hole or be swallowed up by the comet entirely. Even though the comet is entirely solid, it still remains a challenge to gauge just exactly how intense a landing would be, and what could potentially happen after landing.
As it turned out, the probe bounced twice, and then finally landed. And even though the harpoons that were intended to stake the craft into the comets solid base – that failed to happen. Thus creating a scenario of absolute wonderment. That being said, and all things considered things have gone really well for the craft and even though the device is currently in a questionable state – waiting to see the sun to repower the batteries on-board – so it can again move.
However, the major question on many peoples mind was something far more obvious. Like, what sound would it make when it landed on 67P? As it turns out a series of sensors at the bottom of the landers feet recorded the sound, through the vibrations it made at landing. That instrument is called the SESAME-CASSE instrument, and what you hear is the craft bouncing of the surface of the comet.
Even though sound can’t be heard in space, because there is no air, through objects – sound can be recorded. In fact, that is exactly what happened here. While there was no sound to be heard in space, the sound of the landing was captured through the leg of the probe which touched down first, and ultimately, the grainy, sound is the dust, ice, and gravely surface that it is touching down on.
Scientists believe that the craft is sitting on an icy surface at the moment. However, they aren’t entirely sure where the probe exactly is at this moment in time because they have to some degree lost contact – due to the fact that they are now waiting for the craft to be recharged by the sun. While a great amount of data has already been captured, it remains to be seen what else – beyond the sound – can be recorded, on a more entertaining and basic level.
Many have had a more impactful reaction to the sound of the craft touching down due to the fact that it is a more basic event. Something more people can identify with more easily.