Satnews Daily
December 12th, 2013

European Space Agency (ESA)—Rosetta Has To Wake Up... With Your Help (Satellite—Contest)

[SatNews] Think it’s tough getting up in the morning when the alarm clock sounds? Imagine what it must be like waking up 673 million kilometres from the warmth of the Sun and with no coffee—you might need some help…

Join the ‘Wake Up Rosetta’ campaign, an international video shout-out to celebrate the end of 31 months of deep-space hibernation endured by ESA’s comet-chasing Rosetta. There are some fabulous prizes to be won.

Artist’s impression of the Rosetta orbiter deploying the Philae lander to comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. After an extensive mapping phase by the orbiter in August–September 2014, a landing site will be selected for Philae to conduct in situ measurements in November 2014. The image is not to scale; the Rosetta spacecraft measures 32m across including the solar arrays, while the comet nucleus is thought to be about 4km wide.
ESA–C. Carreau/ATG medialab.

Rosetta was launched in 2004 and has since traveled around the Sun five times, picking up energy from Earth and Mars to line it up with its final destination: comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. For the coldest, loneliest leg of the mission, as Rosetta traveled out towards the orbit of Jupiter, the spacecraft was put into deep-space hibernation. In 2014, Rosetta will complete its cruise towards the comet, rendezvousing with it in August, before putting its Philae lander onto the comet’s surface in November, as it begins its journey closer to the Sun.

The time for Rosetta to wake up and prepare for this most exciting scientific adventure is now fast approaching. The spacecraft’s internal alarm clock is set for 10:00 GMT (11:00 CET) on 20 January. Once it has warmed itself up, it should re-establish communication with Earth several hours later. In a competition that has now opened, ESA invites you to mark this important milestone in the Rosetta mission by sharing a video clip of you shouting “Wake up, Rosetta!” You can upload your video clip and share it with the world via ESA’s dedicated Facebook page.

ESA’s Rosetta is en route to Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, where it will make the most detailed study of a comet ever attempted. It will follow the comet on its journey through the inner Solar System, measuring the increase in activity as the icy surface is warmed up by the Sun. It will deposit a lander, Philae, on to the surface to study the composition and structure of the comet nucleus. It will also drill more than 20 cm into the surface to collect samples for inspection by the lander’s laboratory. The spacecraft has been in deep-space hibernation for over 30 months and is set to wake up on 20 January 2014. This image shows the Rosetta Engineering Qualification Model in a cleanroom at ESOC, ESA’s European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany. It is a faithful replica of the actual spacecraft, and is being used to test and validate procedures and software prior to upload to the real Rosetta. In preparation for the wake-up next month, teams at ESOC have been working intensely to recommission the ground systems used to control Rosetta and test the board connections between Rosetta and the lander.
Photo courtesy of ESA–J. Mai.

Be creative and imaginative—you can include friends, family, colleagues, members of your team, social clubs, and school groups, or even put together a flash mob to create a memorable video shout. Visitors to the Facebook page can vote on their favourite videos and compete to win some great prizes:

  • Each of the top ten videos will be transmitted with 20 000 Watts of power towards Rosetta and out into the Universe via one of ESA's deep-space tracking stations
  • Each eligible participant submitting one of the top ten videos will receive a complimentary gift bag comprising a selection of ESA-branded souvenirs
  • Two of the eligible top ten video authors will be invited to ESOC, our control centre in Darmstadt, Germany, for the VIP event celebrating the first-ever landing on a comet, in November 2014

The campaign runs through until 17:30 GMT (18:30 CET) on January 20th. The two winning entries will be announced on January 24th and the top ten videos will be transmitted into space in February.

ESA also invites you to join in the Wake Up Rosetta campaign via Twitter by following and shouting #WakeUpRosetta ‘virtually’ at @ESA_Rosetta. You can shout any time, but we’re especially keen to see shouts on January 20th between 10:00 GMT and 17:30 GMT, during our dedicated Wake Up Rosetta event, which will be webcast from ESOC.

Once mission controllers have established contact with Rosetta, our @ESA_Rosetta Twitter channel will also wake up, making this the best immediate source for confirmation that the spacecraft is awake and ready for the final leg of its epic journey.

More information about the event on 20 January will be provided soon. In the meantime, join us in helping to Wake Up Rosetta!