13. November 2014

Philae: The Biggest Jump Ever

(Philae not to scale)
So, Philae bounced twice before coming to a halt. 'Bounce' does not quite describe it correctly. Philae did by far the biggest #jump ever. The f*cking tallest, longest, slowest JUMP ever done by a human made object (including humans). Without using thrusters, just by pushing off from a rock. That's something for the Guiness Book of Records.

And Philae was lucky as hell. It jumped about 1 km high and 1 km wide on a rock barely 2 km large. Had it jumped only a little bit more, then it would have missed this side of the comet and probably crashed head first into some other part. Philae jumped off very slowly at about 1/5 walking speed. Had it been twice as fast, then it would have left the comet entirely and it would be lost in space by now.

Lucky Philae.

This record will stand for a very long time. Jumping so high is only possible in very low gravity. Only on a small object with small escape velocity. This makes a jump very risky. If you jump too far, then you drift away into the darkness. Trying it would be foolish. But still, 50 years from now, there will be an astronaut/cosmonaut/taikonaut who happens to stand on a small celestial body for commercial or science reasons. And he/she will try to excel the Philae record. Probably with a recovery option. But it will still be difficult and dangerous. No safety leash is allowed for the record attempt to be valid.


PS: As André Côté (commenter here) and Neil Armstrong (famous moon lander) said: "A giant jump for a robot, a giant step for humanity".

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