August is, apparently, the season for Certificates of Appreciation in spacecraft engineering!

First up is the one for Solar Orbiter.
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This has an image of the spacecraft approaching the Sun in the upper right corner. It reads, “This certificate recognises the significant contribution of [nanila] to the development of the magnetometer instrument on the Solar Orbiter spacecraft. In recognition of this contribution, your name will be carried within the memory of the magnetometer instrument on its voyage to explore the Sun and the inner solar system.” It’s signed by the instrument PI (Principal Investigator) and instrument manager (my fantastic colleague and labmate Helen).

My name’s going to the Sun! (TBH I’m glad it’s just name. It’s a bit...lethal-radiation-y out there.)

Second is the one from Rosetta.
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This as, as its backdrop, a stunning close-up image of Comet 67P taken by the OSIRIS instrument. There’s a sketched Rosetta spacecraft in the upper left corner, and a sketched Philae in the lower right. It reads, “European Space Agency presents this certificate to [nanila] in recognition of your outstanding contribution to the ESA Rosetta Mission.” It’s signed by the Director of Science at ESA, the Rosetta Mission Manager and the Rosetta Project Scientist.

Finally, here’s an old one from the Cluster and Double Star anniversaries.
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This one has an image of the Sun and the Earth (not to scale), as well as the Earth’s magnetic field in blue. The four Cluster spacecraft are in formation at the bottom right and the two Double Star spacecraft are closer to the Earth. Also not to scale (“These are small and those are far away”).

The certificate reads “Cluster 15th and Double Star 10th anniversary. ESA and NSSC present this certificate to [nanila] in recognition of your outstanding contribution to the Cluster and Double Star missions.” It’s signed by the Chinese National Space Science Center director, the Cluster & Double Star project scientist and the Director of Science & Robotic Exploration at the European Space Agency.

The Cluster mission is now in its 17th year since the commissioning phase ended and still going strong. The Double Star spacecraft are no longer operational.

I’ve worked on the Cluster mission since 2006.
nanila: fulla starz (lolcat: science)
( Nov. 2nd, 2016 04:55 pm)
Leiden Centraal to Noordwijk
A selfie I took on the bus from Leiden Centraal to Noordwijk. The bus takes about 45 minutes, so most people opt for a taxi when they’re visiting ESTEC. I like the bus, though. It’s a really pretty route through the city and out into the countryside. Plus, it only costs 4 euros.

While I’m on the subject of space agencies, here are a few links.

  • Want to holiday like an Elder God? Try these lethal exoplanet destinations! Galaxy of Horrors (h/t to [personal profile] redsixwing)

  • For a more soothing experience, you can watch a mildly animated page of the Deep Space Network stations uplinking and downlinking data from different spacecraft. I sometimes do this. I mean, I have a PDF with all the scheduled DSN passes for Cassini, but let’s face it, this is much prettier. Eyes on the DSN.

  • And finally, in Geeky Space Swag news, the Rosetta mission shop has been updated with new shirts and hoodies that include the cartoon spacecraft from the “Once Upon a Time” video series about the mission. Best of all, you can get your mitts on a cuddly/plushy toy of Rosetta and Philae, or donate one to be sent to a primary school.
A small compilation of Things Wot Have Made Me Happy over the past couple of weeks.

People

I am pleased to have produced offspring who can appreciate the great pleasure of slurping up really long noodles.

People + Things )
The Rosetta mission to Comet 67P came to an end today, with the orbital spacecraft landing on the surface of the comet and switching off.


Cartoon of Rosetta with its busted solar panels, clutching its Mission Achievements log. *sniff*


Cartoon of the Philae lander going to sleep forever on the comet's surface. *wibble*

Poll #17682 Rosetta's Grand Finale
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 41


The saddest cartoon spacecraft image ever is:

View Answers

Rosetta with its busted solar panels, clutching its Mission Achievements log
17 (45.9%)

Philae going to sleep forever on the comet's surface
20 (54.1%)

I shed a tear over Rosetta's demise.

View Answers

Yes, I did. I'm not ashamed.
22 (56.4%)

That's cometary dust. Dust, I tell you.
12 (30.8%)

Yes, but that's a tear of rage because now the aliens will find our space junk and come to DESTROY US.
2 (5.1%)

I have no idea what you're talking about, but here, have a tissue.
7 (17.9%)



This ESA Rosetta mission shirt is only sold at the ESRIN site in Frascati, Italy. I call it the "Welcome to the gun show" shirt because I suspect its very form-fitting cut and perfunctory sleeves were designed for a svelte Italian man with large biceps to swan around on his scooter in his aviators. I'm better at eating gelato than hitting the gym regularly, so I'm afraid my guns aren't quite up to the task.

Anyway, I've been a bit busy lately what with updating several hundred requirements in our database (complete!) and submitting a grant application on behalf of the artist I'm hoping will be able to join me in January to document the final months of the Cassini mission (also complete!). Additionally, I acquired a new phone. I don't know what it is about new gizmos. Somehow even though it's running the same OS and is the same brand, just a bit bigger and faster, it has turned my fingers into hams and it's taken me the better part of two days to not be afraid to touch the damn thing. This was not helped by me forgetting which Google account I'd used to create my Pokémon Go account, logging in with the wrong one, and immediately being devastated to find I was back at Level 1. Eventually I figured out what had gone wrong, but not before a lot of lip-wobbling and wibbling unhappily at the bloke. I caught a Clefairy at Birmingham New Street station this morning, so I'm almost reconciled to the brief period of unnecessary mourning.

I decided not to port my Neko Atsume game data over from my old phone either, so I'm starting again from the beginning. AND I now have space to install The Room 3. WIN.

[From L to R: Me, Peter, Sam, Agata, Geraint in our formal attire at the Comet Revealed stand before the Royal Society soiree last Wednesday night]

Last week, my London days were largely spent at the Royal Society Summer Science exhibition doing public outreach about the Rosetta mission's discoveries at Comet 67P. I did five four-hour shifts in 2.5 days, which is about the limit a person should do when talking pretty much non-stop. I completely lost my voice after my last shift.

It was great fun, though! I was one of the stand organisers (coordinated the rota & polo shirt printing). The glorious backdrop in the photo above is an image from the OSIRIS camera on board Rosetta. The little stand next to me contains a number of 3D-printed famously rubber-duck-shaped Comet 67P nuclei as well as some of our smell-o-vision postcards. More on those below the cut.

More photos from the stand; pls note that most of these were not taken by me )
For teasery spoilers on why I'm asking this question, look at the tags on this entry. :)

Poll #17261 Freebies
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 52


When you go to an exhibition or convention where people are handing out (branded) freebies, which of these are your favourites?

View Answers

Pens
32 (64.0%)

Pencils
11 (22.0%)

Keyrings
10 (20.0%)

Fridge magnets
18 (36.0%)

Stress balls
17 (34.0%)

Bouncy balls
11 (22.0%)

Bookmarks
12 (24.0%)

Stickers
18 (36.0%)

Something else I didn't list:

Y'ALL WE DID IT

WE LANDED A TINY HUNK OF METAL ON A SMALL SNOWY DIRTYBALL HURTLING THROUGH SPACE AT THOUSANDS OF MILES PER HOUR

OMG TODAY IS FREAKIN EPIC

Poll #16119 Space mission publicity
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 38


I have heard of the following missions independently from your journal.

View Answers

Cassini-Huygens (NASA-ESA mission: spacecraft currently in orbit around Saturn)
29 (85.3%)

JUICE (ESA mission: future spacecraft, to orbit Jupiter and the Galilean moons)
9 (26.5%)

Cluster (ESA mission: set of 4 spacecraft currently studying Earth's space plasma environment)
9 (26.5%)

Rosetta (ESA mission: spacecraft orbiting a comet, soon to release a lander)
29 (85.3%)

I would not have heard about these missions if I didn't read your journal.

View Answers

Cassini-Huygens (NASA-ESA mission: spacecraft currently in orbit around Saturn)
8 (25.8%)

JUICE (ESA mission: future spacecraft, to orbit Jupiter and the Galilean moons)
26 (83.9%)

Cluster (ESA mission: set of 4 spacecraft currently studying Earth's space plasma environment)
25 (80.6%)

Rosetta (ESA mission: spacecraft orbiting a comet, soon to release a lander)
7 (22.6%)

I keep up with space science news through various media channels.

View Answers

Yes, pretty regularly
12 (32.4%)

Only when it hits the headlines
25 (67.6%)

It's not really my thing
0 (0.0%)


I've spent the last few days at a meeting in the new Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Goettingen, Germany. The building itself is pretty impressive, particularly the entrance hall, and the Philae lander model merited a selfie.

Details. )

One additional awesome thing about the new Institute: There's a full-time creche (daycare) inside the building. Not just on the University campus. In the building. And the Institute's on-site library includes a children's section. Apparently there are a lot of female scientists who, when the Institute moved from its old site in Lindau, suddenly decided it was time to start a family. Interesting, no? <dry>
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