5 Lofty Lessons from Landing on a Comet

By now we have all heard about or seen the footage of yesterday’s successful attempt at landing on a comet, but there are some important lessons we can all learn from this feat of accomplishment, scientist or not.

Our space exploration programs have continued to grow in scale and conception, NASA announced last year of its sights set on Mars and yesterday the ESA (European Space Agency) rocked the world when they successfully landed an unmanned probe, called Philae, on the surface of a comet (67P) that is about 300 million miles from Earth. As we can see in the photos just being released, it was more of a touch and go landing, yet the technical accomplishment of the feat is truly out of this world and proof that any problem has a solution, although it may take a while.

For decades Earthlings have been mildly obsessed not just by aliens and UFO’s, but movie’s like Armageddon” and “Deep Impact” have created a common human concern against the threat of an asteroid impact. Last year may have lit a fire under scientists’ Bunsen burners when the largest meteor to hit earth in over a century exploded in Russian skies. That 65 foot wide asteroid came barreling toward Earth a 42,500 mph and injured 1,500 people and caused significant property damage.

This historic event, the first landing ever on a comet, is not just for the ESA to celebrate, but for earthlings to marvel at. Where would we be without the conceptions, questions and ideas created in our fascinating mind, posing questions, doing research and trying to understand life as we know it a little better, it is a humanity bonding and humbling process, wouldn’t you agree?

Learning is part of our life’s trajectory and this is an excellent opportunity to take a look at five superstar strategies that can be gathered and applied professionally in our busy lives from this lofty accomplishment:

1. Never give up (Put yourself in the Right Place and the Right Time)– The Rosetta left Earth a decade ago and traveled 6.4 billion miles to align itself for the right opportunity.

2. If you can dream it, you can conceive it-starting with an idea, growing it from a passion to a hot pursuit, turning a dream into a reality is within our power and not something to loose sight of. The power of visualization is no doubt critical for space exploration and in creating blockbuster movies like “Star Wars“.

3. Teamwork means working together-.The entire planet, all nations, have joined in the celebration of the Philae lander. Putting differences aside and strengths together, a group is able to accomplish the impossible, or at least out of this world.

4. Have a back-up plan/Be flexible– The landing didn’t go without some bumps, Philae “actually landed twice”, the harpoons equipped for anchoring the craft had problems deploying, but after another attempt the machine was successful. Having a plan A is great, but also having plans B through M or considering an alternate ‘approach’ is sometimes the key to success.

5. Think BIG-but start with one small step-This incredible successful landing of a Rover on an comet is just the small first step for our space programs globally to better understand all of the trillion+ comets in our solar system.

In our own lives, whatever we wish to accomplish; be it money, success, fame, notoriety or just to make a difference all start with a plan and steps to get to the goal. You can become a millionaire with one dollar, and you can shoot for the moon (and get there), there may even be some space available on Sir Richard Bransons’ Virgin Galactic.

This is “a breakthrough moment in the exploration of our solar system and a milestone for international cooperation,” noted 8 time space walker John Grunsfeld, Associate Administrator for Science NASA.

Feature image By Don Davis (Donald Davis’ official site.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Artist’s impression of the Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 in its 2004 collision approach with Jupiter. Artist’s description: “The view from a fragment of the Shoemaker / Levy 9 comet which fell into Jupiter piece by piece over several days in Late July 1994, around the 25th anniversary of Apollo 11. Acrylic on board for NASA Ames.

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