Word for Wednesday: Comet

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On the 12th November, after 10 years and 6.4 billion kilometers, landing robot Philae touched down on the surface of Comet 67P which is headed towards the sun at an astonishing 135,185 km per hour!

Although the robot is now in hibernation, Philae managed to complete over 80% of its planned scientific tasks on the comet. It is possible that as the comet grows nearer the sun, Philae’s solar panels will absorb enough energy to ‘wake him up’.

What does any of this have to do with spelling? The mission is named ‘Rosetta’ after the Rosetta Stone; a slab of volcanic rock found in 1799. The inscribed with a decree written in three different scripts dated to 196 BC.

The stone allowed us to decipher the mysterious ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs. Just as the stone allowed us insight into our cultural history - the ESA’s Rosetta mission will unlock the mysteries of our Solar System.

Believe it or not, the idea of landing on a comet is not a recent one, and even pre-dates the beginnings of the Rosetta mission in the 1980s! We’ve been doing some digging around and we unearthed an old Eagle comic book that saw science fiction hero, Dan Dare landing on a comet… in 1959! Maybe illustrator Frank Hampson knew something we didn’t! 

The word for today is comet and we can’t wait to hear the findings of the Rosetta mission!

19 Nov 2014
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