The Great Gordino Newsletter – Nov 18th 2014

I hope all is well with you.

A pretty normal week in the world of space exploration this week – the usual stuff, landing on a comet and so on.

Hang on – landing on a comet?

Oh yes.

ESA, the European Space Agency have spent a good while on the project. In fact it was 10 years ago that Rosetta took off with the aim of landing on a comet, and on Nov 12th the probe Philae landed on the catchily named comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

It’s a staggering thing to achieve, to land on something going that fast, so far away almost seems impossible. In fact, the whole mission seemed impossible all the way through, which is why it was so exciting to see the successful landing.

How was it done? Well, it was done using the beauty of mathematics, science, physics, astronomy. Sending the probe at a certain speed in certain directions, meant that it should have met up with the comet when planned.

Landing on the comet was a different thing though, because until the probe had fully caught up with the comet, there was no real way to be sure of the terrain to plan a suitable landing spot. The first moon landing had a similar problem, and much like the moon landing, this comet touchdown was always touch and go.

As it happens, the landing probe seems to have bounced when landing, and have trouble attaching itself. It also ended up with its’ solar panels hidden in the shadows of a cliff face, meaning the extended battery life might not be there to be used when needed. However, the main tasks of the mission were always designed to be carried out before the solar panel power was needed.

What were the experiments? Why did we do it at all?
Well, 2 reasons…

Firstly, to check the make up of a comet, to see how much water is in there, to help decide if it was a comet strike that first brought water to the earth to allow life.
Secondly, although we try and track comets and asteroids, many still get through the tracking and come to earth.

It’s thought that it was a comet or asteroid hitting the earth that wiped out the dinosaurs, and it’s possible that a strike in the future could be equally as devastating. Although Hollywood says we can simply send up some men with bombs to destroy it with a nifty soundtrack, reality at the moment says otherwise.

This mission has taken 10 years to get to the comet, so it’s all part of working out ways that we can attack the problem of any comets, er, attacking us in the future.

Fascinating. Exciting. Staggering.

In the sporting world, the staggering is continued by FIFA, the world governing body of football. I say unfortunately, because they are useless.

There was widespread disbelief when the 2022 World Cup was awarded to Qatar, and suspicions of bribery were aroused straight away. FIFA’s ethics committee launched a massive 2 year inquiry into the bidding process.

Unfortunately for the transparency of FIFA, they did not release the final report of hundreds of pages, only releasing a summary. That summary said there was nothing wrong whatsoever with the bidding process, and that President Sepp Blatter had run a magnificent process.

Much laughter around the world. Then crying.

Michael Garcia, the lawyer who had run the inquiry, said that the summary was totally unrepresentative of his actual findings.

More laughter. Then more crying.

Basically it has turned into a farce. FIFA is accountable to no-one, and that’s the problem. It’s run by Blatter and his cronies as a closed shop. It seems the only way to change this now is for the general public to hassle their sponsors to withdraw their sponsorship.

Another way to change things is for major footballing nations to announce they will boycott the 2022 tournament, or leave FIFA altogether, because that would leave FIFA out in the cold.

I doubt that will happen anytime soon, there surely must be massive financial penalties for moves like that, so unless the sponsors start getting itchy, football fans around the world will have to carry on sighing in sadness at the terrible state that has come to pass.

Mind you, we did land on a comet this week, so that cheers me up, along with the football match on tonight – it’s the oldest fixture in international football, as England play Scotland in Glasgow. I gave up on watching so called ‘friendlies’ years ago, but I’ll be watching this one, because in England v Scotland games, there is no such thing as a ‘friendly!’

Do let me know what you think, feel free to share, like, tweet etc!

‘Til Next Time,
Health & happiness,
P.S. Sport and space are both niches with lots of passion. In my book FB Passion Profits I show you how to turn that passion into profits. There’s a free guide there covering the basics, but the full book with the details is only a few dollars, with a money back guarantee

Do leave a comment!

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    • they are doing a lot of stuff on underwater deep sea stuff, trying to replicate long space travel, plus they are still a big player on the space station (even though they have to hitch a ride on the Russian rockets – ouch!)

  • The good and the bad, the ying and the yang, it never stops. Science used to be a good thing when they didn’t keep things away from the public eye. Now that everything is secretive and on the sly, who knows what they are really up to. Maybe they are using this device to steer the asteroid from hitting the Earth and don’t want to panic the people. Makes one think.

    • possible, but unlikely, since it took 10 years to get there.
      I do like these scientific developments, they fascinate me!
      As for FIFA, little hope for change there, it’s definitely up to the fans to start hassling the main sponsors, that’s the best way to bring change there,

  • Interesting about the comet. The probe must be travelling equally fast too…I wonder. Anyway, I would be more interested if the probe (or whatever you call it) sent out have reached Pluto as scheduled to arrive last year or was it the year before…

    For FIFA, if it’s win-win, maybe close one eye??!! Probably more sensitive underlying issues.. so no comments 🙂

    • The main problem with FIFA is about money. It’s money that has caused what is basically corruption, but it’s the money that means that pretty much everyone *does* indeed look the other way – too much to lose!

  • I was amazed that the ESA spent all that time and money just to let an idiot land the probe. It was like allowing Howard Wolowitz (Big Bang Theory) run the Mars rover. They should have used a professional space pilot.

    Over the years, FIFA continues to decline. I was a sanctioned FIFA referee during the mid to late 90s. But because they have been around for as long as they have, I doubt that teams or countries will leave them because of the traditions and associated habit of having them.

    • Ah, you were a ref? Fascinating! That’s another problem football has, particularly in Britain – not enough new refs coming into the game, due to violence against them at the lower levels, from players and the sidelines – shocking.
      You are right about FIFA, but there will come a breaking point where enough countries will have had enough. I’d say it was looming, but I do like the idea of fans hassling the 5 main sponsors – that seems the quickest way to change in my view!