Predictions: Landing On Comet 67P

In May of 2014, the Rosetta spacecraft will arrive at comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.  The craft will deploy the Philae probe to land on the surface of the comet.

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A few predictions about this event:

1. The surface of the comet will be solid rock.

2. The surface will either be entirely devoid of ice or it will have a very light frosting of ice in small pockets.  Less than 1% will be observable ice.

3. Image sensors will detect areas of whiteout if the comet is active.  This whiteout will be caused by plasma discharges. Should the landing be successful, it’s possible that the lander may directly image plasma electrically machining the rocky surface of the comet.  We may observe glowing discharges in areas of shadow.

4. The surface will be heavily cratered, with sharply defined ridges and mesas.

5. The lander may short out or explode as it approaches the comet.  It’s possible that a massive explosion could occur if a large electrical exchange were to take place between the lander and the comet. The lander could malfunction due to electrical interference.

6. The Rosetta lander Magnetometer And Plasma monitor (ROMAP) sensor will go haywire or produce completely unexpected results.

7. No “water” jets or vents will be pinpointed, but OH blooms will be identified to be coming from the ridges of craters and from areas of whiteout on the image sensors.  There will be no observed large scale photodissociation of water, as is presumed by standard comet models.  OH production will be wildly out of proportion to observed H production.

8.  The surface will be blackened and charred from electrical scaring.  It will have the albedo of asphalt.

9.  The CONSERT (COmet Nucleus Sounding Experiment by Radiowave Transmission) sensor will return data consistent with a solid piece of rock, not a hollow snowball.

10.  Other sensors will return data consistent with the comet being made up entirely of typical terrestrial rock, devoid of interior ice, discharging an electrically charged plasma coma around the nucleus.

11. We may observe the ablation of crater walls, ridge lines or mesas and the discharges will appear to change location and move around the surface.

12.  Philae probe probe will have difficulty sticking to the surface of Chury.  The lander was designed to fire a harpoon into ice, and then winch itself to the surface.  After landing, the feet of the probe have ice augers designed to drill into ice.  Given that EU theory assumes the comet is solid rock, the probe may have difficulty penetrating the surface of this rock when it attempts to land.

The equivalent weight of the lander on the comet compared to Earth will be about 10 grams. The harpoon isn’t going to stick into rock, so it will have to make it’s landing with a perfect velocity in order for it to land successfully. In fact, depending on when they fire that harpoon, the recoil alone might send the probe flying off into space. It wouldn’t surprise me if NASA figures this out ahead of time and simply tries to land without bothering to even try the harpoon or ice augers on the probe at all.

The probe was designed to deal with landing in sand. EU theory predicts the surface may have a coating of extremely fine dust. If the dust is thick enough, the probe may make a successful landing, but I think it will be an extremely close call. It’s supposed to land at 1 m/s, which, if it hits a rocky bottom, is probably enough force to bounce it off the comet. The dust may also be compacted because of how fine it will be. If the dust is compacted enough, the probe will bounce. The dust is expected to be like talcum powder, not sand.

Learn more about why I predict these things at Thunderbolts.info.

Here’s a video that discusses what we know about comets so far: