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Control looks for a flat spot to drop the

probe on. The place for the

"accometaggio", landing on a comet in

Italian, is found and the first contact

happens. It's the 12th of November. The

probe is dropped by the mother-module.

Since there is no gravity the risk is to

bounce away forever. We have some pre-

loaded harpoons that have to hook the

ground (but without knowing its

consistency). Once anchored to the

surface, the phase of the mission that

involves Dallara begins. Between the

numerous optical, electrical and magnetic

experiments, there is one that uses the

drill designed and built by Dallara. The

hollow tip penetrates the ground and

brings them to some special "micro ovens"

tied to a sort of a carrousel that enables

more experiments to be made. Last but

not least, we send the data back to Earth.

As the probe is pretty small, we have only

60 hours of autonomy to complete all the

experiments that will eventually drain our

residual energy. At that point, the

batteries will be over forever. Is like a

blossoming agave that explodes in his

maximum amount of beauty and

functionality before dying».

It's really fascinating. What kind of

speed a probe like this can reach?

What kind of engine propels it?

«In space you have to use what you got

and bring with you everything you will

use in your mission. There are no

guardian angels: “Out there, it is better to

have in your back pack whatever you need

to survive and work” (John Aldrin). The

alternative is to rebuild, using the

material you have on the spot, including

the waste, what you may need (like in

Apollo 13). It's like a group of sailors in

the middle of the ocean, too far away

from any port, that have to repair the

ship. You can't rebuild everything, because

everything deteriorates, like our life and

identity. If you have nothing to repair the

ship with, you take something out of the

empty around you... and the sun will help

you with its lively energy».

What are the most interesting

materials and technologies used?

«I can remember two of the most

interesting materials: Vespel, which is

self-lubricating. When it penetrates the

comet's surface, the tip produces attrition

but you can't simply carry with you the

grease, because it will disappear after 10

years in vacuum space. The other is Invar,

a particular material which has almost no

thermal expansion. We go back with

Rosetta for a minute. For years and years

we have been half exposed to the sun,

while the other half face the dark space.

Without Invar, or two sides will expand in

a different way so they would assume

different shapes. These expansions could

ignite thermo-structural vibrations and

hamper the precision of the antennas that

communicate with the Mission Control, or

reduce the efficiency of our solar panels

that need to collect every single "drop" of

sunlight, or even generate catastrophic

vibration ending in a collapse. This was

exactly the argument of my degree thesis

in Aerospace Engineering!»

What are the scientific, technological

and also philosophical repercussions of

the space exploration in our

everyday's life?

«See, there are basically two principles

that push us to knowledge. The first is the

pursuit of knowledge and truth for the

sake of themselves, as non-negotiable

values needed to satisfy a pure and

powerful curiosity. The other principle

pushes us to go after knowledge as an

instrumental value, in order to use it to

improve the human condition. Both

principles are substantial, and every

single man is more oriented on one side

or the other. What pushed Ulysses to

abandon his son, father and wife? "That

should have crown'd Penelope with joy /

Could overcome in me the zeal I had / T'

explore the world, and search the ways of

life / Man's evil and his virtue / Forth I

sail'd Into the deep illimitable main /

With but one bark, and the small faithful

band / That yet cleav'd to me / Our poop

we turn'd, and for the witless flight / And

over us the booming billow clos'd". What