Update: landing on a comet and reaching 25,000 words


On Philae

I spent Wednesday constantly checking for updates on the progress of the Philae comet lander, with the BBC happily setting up a live feed to make it easy. It was a day of tense moments: first we had to wait for confirmation that Philae had separated from Rosetta, then we had to wait for radio contact to be re-established. By 4pm, when notification of the landing itself was expected, I was on tenterhooks.

And then the news came through – Philae had done it! The first ever soft landing on a comet! It came as a great relief.

However, news followed that Philae might not be stable; the harpoons that were supposed to secure it to the surface had not fired. Next morning, there came the even stranger news that Philae had actually bounced – twice! – upon touching the comet, and come to rest wonkily in the face of a cliff, where it couldn’t get enough sunlight for its solar panels. So now it was tense all over again: could the ESA get all the data they wanted from Philae before its batteries ran out?

This morning, I checked the news and found that Philae has gone into standby mode, but not before relaying a last batch of data, including the results of a drill sample.

So that’s it from Philae for the time being. It is a little unfortunate that the landing was a bit inelegant, and that scientific observations can’t go on as long as was hoped (though it might wake up again in the future) – but then, there was every chance that Philae wouldn’t survive at all, plus apparently the scientists are still getting most of the data they wanted. Now we just need to wait for them to analyse it and provide some results – and I’d also like to see more pictures if there are any! Feeling very happy at being able to follow this historic event.

On NaNoWriMo

Officially reached the halfway mark of 25,000 words yesterday morning! Currently, if I can manage 2000 words today, I’ll be two days ahead of schedule. In the past two days, it has become more of a slog at some points; I’ve been skipping ahead again, and there are one or two gaps in the story I haven’t yet filled in. Still, onwards on the downward slope!


  • Have pretty much given up on Gotham now – it just wasn’t interesting enough.
  • On the other hand, Agents of SHIELD is still brilliant – it really seems to have grown the beard as it’s definitely been better than the first four episodes of Season 1 were.
  • The latest series of Downton Abbey is over now, and while still not as good as it’s been in the past, it’s been nice, light entertainment. I rather wish they’d stop piling misery on Edith, though; even when something fairly happy does happen to her and she gets her daughter back, it’s still shadowed by the fact that she had to basically snatch her away from the loving adoptive parents, which just seemed very selfish to me.
  • The BBC doesn’t mess around – no sooner has Doctor Who finished for another series than they immediately plug the gap with the second series of Atlantis. I wasn’t sure about Atlantis at first as it felt too similar to Merlin: the hero who fights mythological monsters, and is constantly told by someone old and wise that he has a grand destiny, and has to contend with an evil ruler – not to mention being in love with the prince/ss. I found it more enjoyable overall than Merlin, though – like Downton Abbey, it’s really just a bit of fun – so I’ll be tuning in for this new series.

About R.J. Southworth

Hi there. I've been blogging since January 2014, and I like to talk about all sorts of things: book reviews, film reviews, writing, science, history, or sometimes just sharing miscellaneous thoughts. Thanks for visiting my blog, and I hope you find something that interests you!
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