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  1. #1 After Long Slumber, Philae Says Hi To The World 
    PORCUS MAXIMUS Rockntractor's Avatar
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    Apr 2009
    In a technological feat that moved the world, last November the European Space Agency landed the small probe Philae on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, which is cruising at some 100,000 miles per hour toward the sun. Excitement turned to high drama when the landing put the probe away from the sun's rays and, thus, from its energy source. At the low temperatures of outer space, Philae went into a deep slumber, one that many thought would be permanent.
    Hence the surprise three days ago when the "little probe that could" sent a tweet to its followers: "Hello Earth! Can you hear me?"
    Moving closer to the sun, Philae's solar panels captured enough radiation to warm up above their operation temperature of -35 degrees Celsius (-31 Fahrenheit). They should have enough wattage available for transmission of much-wanted data about the comet's chemical composition.
    Philae's amazing mission is to study whether comets could have contributed to the origin of life on Earth. For its first half billion years, all sorts of space debris fell on our nascent planet, including comets. The debris was leftover material from the epoch of planetary formation, some of it still in orbit in "belts" around the sun, such as the asteroid belt, which is made of rocks orbiting between Mars and Jupiter. Comets come from belts placed much farther out, such as the Kuiper belt (in the outskirts of Neptune) and the Oort cloud, at the confines of the solar system. Their distance from the sun affects their composition: Instead of being rocky like asteroids, comets are mostly made of water ice, dust and a few frozen gases — including carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane and ammonia.
    To study a comet is to dive deep into our solar system's infancy. Their isolation guarantees that whatever they carry has been preserved for the past 4 billion years. And since they bombarded primeval Earth, what we find on them gives us clues of what fell here. Possibly, they sprinkled our planet with the basic ingredients for life
    The difference between pigs and people is that when they tell you you're cured it isn't a good thing.
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  2. #2  
    Ancient Fire Breather Retread's Avatar
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    Dec 2011
    I came to Texas as soon as I could
    If civilization last long enough, it will be an interesting ride.
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    When I judge someone's integrity one key thing I look at is - How does s/he treat people s/he doesn't agree with or does not like?
    I can respect someone who I do not agree with, but I have NO respect for someone who puts others down in a public forum. That is the hallmark of someone who has no integrity, and cannot be trusted.
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