With its groundbreaking comet-landing attempt just days away, Philae is making headlines around the world. Here is our little contribution to the Rosetta mania. Do you know why was the lander named after an ancient Egyptian obelisk? And how difficult is it to land a spacecraft in a place millions of kilometers away that no one has even seen before? And what does it take to fit a room full of equipment into a payload the size of a shoe-box?
We spoke with Rosetta scientist Gerhard Schwehm about the upcoming challenges and asked Martin Whalley, from RAL Space, what it took to design the Ptolemy instrument.
National Trust’s James Grasby explained why the link between an ancient Egyptian obelisk and a 21st century spacecraft may not be as far-fetched as may seem.