I have a new feature article published in New Scientist this week:
"YOU know that anxious feeling the night before an exam or a job interview, when the alarm clock absolutely, positively has to work. Take that feeling and double it. Multiply it by a large factor, add the number you first thought of... you get the picture. That's how restless mission controllers at the European Space Agency are feeling right now.
For if there is one alarm clock in the whole solar system that has to work, it is the one on their Rosetta spacecraft. Set for 1000 GMT on 20 January, it will, if all goes to plan, wake Rosetta from a three-year slumber travelling through the deepest reaches of space. Bleary-eyed and disoriented, the craft will keep mission controllers on tenterhooks for a few hours more until they hear a faint beep – just enough to tell them that the €1 billion, 3-tonne spacecraft is alive and well. ..."
Read the full article here (a registration may be required).