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Sci-fi short film 'Ambition' highlights ESA's Rosetta mission

24 October 2014, 2:26 pm EDT By Robin Burks Tech Times
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The European Space Agency has released a short science fiction film starring Aiden Gillen and Aisling Franciosi that highlights the Rosetta mission, which will put a lander on the surface of a comet next month.  ( ESA )

The European Space Agency (ESA) has released a science fiction short film promoting its ambitious Rosetta mission, which hopes to land a vehicle on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko next month.

The film, aptly titled Ambition, stars Aisling Franciosi, as well as Aiden Gillen, known to most as Petyr Baelish, aka Littlefinger, on HBO's popular Game of Thrones series.

The film, set in the far future shows a nanotechnology master teaching an acolyte about terraforming a planet, as they discuss the Rosetta mission and its main purpose of finding out if life on Earth originated on comets, as scientists now believe.

 

The ESA hopes their short film, shot on location in Iceland, will build excitement for Rosetta when its Philae Lander touches down on a comet on November 12, something that's never been done before. Rosetta previously made history in September by becoming the first spacecraft to ever orbit a comet.

Rosetta will begin its next adventure in November by travelling slightly away from the comet so that it can start diving at it, releasing its Philae Lander and shooting it towards the comet. Once the lander touches down, it will use harpoons and screws to ground itself there. The landing process will take around seven hours, but we won't know if it's successful until about 30 minutes after landing because of the delay in communication from Rosetta to Earth.

The ESA recently confirmed the landing site on the comet, only known as "Site J," after careful analysis of data received from Rosetta. As of this date, all systems are go for the November landing. However, as more data comes in, there is still a small chance that the landing could still be delayed.

Philae will collect samples of the comet for measuring its chemical composition, as well as take close-up photos of its surface as it monitors the comet over a period of time. Meanwhile, Rosetta will stay close so that the two can easily communicate. Data will eventually make its way to scientists on Earth, where it will be further studied.

Scientists hope Rosetta's mission will find the presence of organic molecules on carbons, those elements crucial for life. If found, that suggests that comets seeded life on Earth.

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