Wednesday, January 22, 2014

‘Hello World’ I’m ready to chase comets now!

Good Day World!

Or, should I say "Hello, world" because that’s what the Rosetta spacecraft said when it woke up ready for it’s comet-chasing mission Monday.

When I heard the news, I flashed back to a movie that came out in 1968 (the year I graduated from high school): 2001 A Space Odyssey.

Here’s one of the chilling conversations that went on between a computer and a human in that “futuristic” science fiction thriller:

Dave Bowman: Hello, HAL. Do you read me, HAL?
Affirmative, Dave. I read you.
Dave Bowman: Open the pod bay doors, HAL.
I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.
Dave Bowman:
What's the problem?
I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do.
Dave Bowman:
What are you talking about, HAL?
This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.
Dave Bowman:
I don't know what you're talking about, HAL.
I know that you and Frank were planning to disconnect me, and I'm afraid that's something I cannot allow to happen.
Dave Bowman: [feigning ignorance]
Where the hell did you get that idea, HAL?
Dave, although you took very thorough precautions in the pod against my hearing you, I could see your lips move.
Dave Bowman:
Alright, HAL. I'll go in through the emergency airlock.
Without your space helmet, Dave? You're going to find that rather difficult.
Dave Bowman:
HAL, I won't argue with you anymore! Open the doors!
HAL: Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye

And now, today’s article:

“Nervous anticipation gave way to jubilation on Monday when the European Space Agency's Rosetta comet-chaser spacecraft emerged from almost three years of induced, energy-saving sleep to report it was ready to carry out its history-making $1 billion mission.

Rosetta alerted scientists at the ESA mission control center in Darmstadt, Germany, that it was awake and ready to rev up and rendezvous with the 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet in August.

The message sent from the spacecraft still 5.6 million miles from its comet destination reached Earth at 7:18 p.m. Central European Time (11:18 a.m. PST) and triggered a preprogrammed tweet of "Hello, world!" in several languages. (Read the rest of the story here.)

I hope the ground crew and the Rosetta computer are good friends and stay that way. You know how important that can be!

Time for me to walk on down the road…

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