Historians will one day hail 2014 as a pivotal year in space exploration – the year the European Space Agency (ESA) landed a robot on a comet. This is the Rosetta space mission landing on Comet 67P.
Scientists from the recently opened Institute of Space Sciences and Astronomy of the University of Malta have taken the task to bring a same-size satellite, rocket shows, and comet trails to St George’s Square, Valletta, as part of Science in the City festival on Friday 25 September from 1800hrs onwards.
'St George’s Square will be transformed into a replica of the Rosetta space mission. We invite children, young people and adults to join us on our Space Mission to reach the comet on St George’s Square that will be transformed into deep dark space for the night,' explained Dr Jackson Said, lecturer at the Institute of Space Sciences and Astronomy.
'Don’t miss the launch of Ariane 5 rocket and, while there, travel on the flight path of the comet through our solar system, all the way to the comet. Experience the surface of the comet for yourself, but watch out for that black hole, its gravitational pull may suck you in too!'
Rosetta was created by ESA and became the first spacecraft to orbit a comet. In Valletta, visitors will trace its journey on top of Ariane rocket that took off on 2 March 2004 and landed on the comet 67P on 6 August 2014. There will also be the launch of the Philae lander (a drone) from Rosetta to land on the comet surface of the square.
Other interactive activities around this spectacle include playing with 3D printed model Hubble Space Telescope, rovers, and satellites by Thought 3D. Other games include a simulated black hole and interactive astrophysics experiments.
Aliens and Astronauts
The festival is also supported by the European Commission Representation in Malta, the Parliamentary Secretary for Research, Innovation, Youth and Sports, Karl Borg Events, Central Bank of Malta, MCAST, MCST, Studio 7, Spazju Kreattiv, MEUSAC, PBS, Levo Laboratories, Valletta Local Council, Notte Bianca, Arts Council Malta, Thought 3D, and General Soft drinks with Coca Cola.
Full programme can be viewed here or follow the festival on Facebook for regular updates.