September 29th, 2016
Episode 115 of 144 episodes
The European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission is about to end (Friday 30th September). The audacious mission to rendezvous with Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and study its nucleus and environment, and land a probe on its surface has been hailed a huge scientific and technical success, despite the lander Philae losing contact shortly after landing on the surface The orbiter Rosetta will be control-crashed, at very slow speeds, onto the comet, where the final scientific measurements and observations will hopefully be made. The mission may be over, but the wealth of scientific data is still to be analysed and will provide insight into these early remnants of our solar system for decades to come. Water Spurting on Europa Jupiter’s moon Europa has been observed spurting plumes of water into space. Ultraviolet spectrometers, on the Hubble Space Telescope, have recorded intermittent clouds of hydrogen and oxygen, in ratios that suggest its water. It’s already known that Europa has a large ocean under its icy crust. But these water spouts could provide a way of sampling the water for organic matter and possible life without having to land and drill through the moon’s surface. Irish Giants Northern Irish folklore is littered with tales of giants. Genetic work has established a link between people of Northern Irish origins with the genetic disorder, pituitary gigantism and some of these giants of old. Michael Brendan Holland, is one such modern day giant and genetic detective work has linked him to 18th century giant, Charles Byrne. New work suggests that the genetic variant which gives rise to big people is relatively common in Northern Ireland and not at all common in Eire and England…so the legends of Irish giants perhaps rooted in truth. Picture: Rosetta and comet 67P ESA Presenter: Marnie Chesterton Producer: Fiona Roberts
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