- Have you ever heard of a comet? A comet is a gigantic piece of ice and rock and dirt that flies through outer space at incredible speeds. Many comets are the size of mountains and when they speed around space have a tail of gasses that can be hundreds of thousands feet long.
- For a long time humans have seen comets in the sky and wondered what they are. some very smart scientists decided they wanted to learn more about comets so they decided to create a spaceship that would find a comet and land on it. This had never been done before but they knew if they build the spaceship right and worked out all of the math correctly they could make it happen.
- Many different countries in Europe, designed and started working on the spacecraft they would call Rosetta. It took many different engineers and scientists studying space and spaceships to know how Rosetta should work.
- Astronomers, scientists who know a lot about space also had to follow the comet Rosetta would land on. They had to use math to figure out how fast Rosetta should go and where it should go to land on the large rocky comet flying around space.
- When Rosetta was ready they blasted the ship into outer space and someone gave it directions to fly. No one was actually on Rosetta because it would be gone for a very long time and might be a very dangerous mission. They flew it sort of like you might fly a remote controlled helicopter or car.
- For 10 years Rosetta flew through outer space. It had many adventures there such as passing planets like Mars and asteroids, other rocks in space, many places a spacecraft had never been. After 10 years it finally was close enough to the icy comet speeding through space. All of the engineers and scientists at mission control were very nervous. They had worked very hard for this day and had been very patient waiting 10 years until they could land their ship. When the day finally came they watched in anticipation as Rosetta came into the orbit of the gigantic comet. This comet was as big as a mountain.
- Attached to Rosetta was a robot that would land on the comet and do experiments to learn more about the comet. When the time was right the lander shot out of Rosetta and raced toward the massive comet below. For a moment it seemed as thought it wouldn’t work, the lander was off track, then suddenly it shot spears out of its side and stuck into the comets ground. It used these hooks and ropes to pull itself down to the ground. When it hit the ground it tumbled and was broken in some places but eventually came to rest. Everyone at mission control cheered. The robot had landed, Rosetta had completed its mission. This was the first time a robot had ever landed on a comet flying through space! The mission was a success!
- Once the lander, which they had called Phillae had time to recharge its batteries it was able to do a few experiments and send the data back to earth. They learned about the water on comets and some of its metals.
- Like the scientists and engineers who designed and built Rosetta you can learn all you can about science and other subjects. They had to listen closely and study and do their homework to become skilled at what they do.
- Astronomers also helped by learning about the stars. You can go out at night and look at the stars and watch shows and read about all of the amazing things happening in the sky above you.
- Waiting for Rosetta to finally reach the comment also took patience. They had to wait many years until it arrived.
- Over 2000 people worked on this project. This shows that teamwork is important to make great things happen.
- What would you like to do when you grow up? Think about it tonight, use your imagination and make a list of the things you can do now to improve yourself, then, pick one of them and start right away.
Tonight we are going to learn about the longest undersea tunnel in the world. This tunnel actually goes under the ground at the bottom of the ocean. England and France and separated by a large area of water called a “channel.” Before the tunnel people had to take boats to go back and forth between the two countries. A long time ago someone had the idea to dig very deep below the ocean and all the way across to the other side. Because it a tunnel and crosses a channel, it was called the “chunnel.”
The first person to have the idea of digging this tunnel a Frechman named Albert Mathieu. At the time they didn’t have large digging machines, so they would have had to do much of it using shovels and horses and wagons. Later, others were going to try to dig the tunnel, at another time some even started to dig from both sides, but France and England didn’t get along so some were worried it would be used to attack the other. For this reason, they waited to start building the tunnel.
Finally, many years later, both England and France agreed on a plan and began digging from both sides of the land. At that time they had better digging machines, so could work much faster digging into the ground and removing all the dirt. Even though the project was very difficult and took a lot of time, both sides kept working and working. It even cost much, much more than they expected, but they were determined to finish the tunnel under the ocean to connect the two countries. They knew once the tunnel was finished it would make moving back and forth very fast and easy. It would also make both of the countries better friends because they could share more things very quickly. Along with digging the tunnel, they began to build train tracks, so a fast moving train could drive between England and French. Engineers had to be very smart and understand everything about the ground and ocean in order to build it. An engineer is someone who goes to school to learn how to build things.
After six years of digging and building, the chunnel was almost complete. Two workers, Graham Fagg and Phillipe Cozette, were chosen to break through the last wall of dirt that connected the two sizes. Many reporters were there as well, since everyone in the world was watching them finish the tunnel. When Graham and Phillipe finished digging through, everyone cheered and gave hugs and celebrated. They were so excited to have the tunnel finally finished. Sometimes even today Graham and Phillipe call each other to remember what an exciting day it was when they helped finish the tunnel.
Soon afterward, the Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth, and the President of France, Francois Mitterand, took trains from both sides and met in the middle to shake hands and congratulate each other on the great achievement.
In the end, digging the chunnel cost 16 billion dollars and even the lives of a few of the workers, but it was an amazing accomplishment. At its lowest point it is 250 feet deep. That is the same as 20 houses stacked on top of each other. It is 23 miles long and every day carries people and food and other things back and forth between France and England.
Like the engineers who built the chunnel, you can learn math and science and other subjects that are in important in school. They had to read and study and finish tests the best they could in order to have the knowledge to build the chunnel. You can also learn to work hard like the many workers who helped dig the tunnel and kept going and going even when it was difficult. Always remember great things take time and patience and practice and work.
Today we are going to learn about the first person on the moon. He was a famous astronaut named Neil Armstrong. Neil was born in Ohio and was the oldest brother in his family. When he was little his father took him to a show where airplanes flew and raced across the sky. From the moment he saw airplanes he loved them. He wanted to fly airplanes himself. He wanted to become a pilot. Not long after he saw his first airplanes, Neil got to fly in an airplane. After this he knew for sure he wanted to be a pilot. When Neil was 14 he took his first flying lessons. By the time he was 16 he had a pilot’s license — which meant he could fly a plane all by himself.
Neil loved to fly planes, but he also loved to learn about them. He built his own small model planes and also did experiments on them to see which designs flew the best. He designed a wind tunnel in his house. A wind tunnel is a tunnel which forces wind through it so he could test his model airplanes.
Neil loved airplanes but he also enjoyed learning about space. Often he would look up in the sky and wonder what was out among the stars and if people would ever go there. His neighbor had a big telescope that Neil often used to look at the planets and stars.
In school Neil listened to his teachers and did his homework, because he knew he would need to learn all he could in order to become a great pilot. When he got older Neil went to college and worked hard to learn about planes and engineering. Engineering is the science of building things, which for Neil was building airplanes.
While Neil was in college, a war started and he was called to be a fighter pilot. His job was to fly airplanes off huge ships called aircraft carriers. He flew 78 missions during the war. One time his airplane was shot and he had to eject out of the seat and parachute down to the ground. Fortunately he was rescued and was safe.
After the war and after finishing college Neil became a test pilot. A test pilot tries out new planes to make sure they are safe for others to fly and to help make them better. Sometimes it was a dangerous job, but Neil had courage and tested over 20 new planes. He even set a record for flying one of the fastest planes in the world.
Neil loved airplanes and space so he decided to become an astronaut, a pilot who flies to space! He had to work hard to become an astronaut, because only a few pilots get to become astronauts. While Neil was an astronaut America was planning its first space flight to the moon. Neil was picked to fly the space ship that flew to the moon. While the ship was landing something bad happened and Neil had to fly it down to the ground himself. It was scary but Neil kept his cool and landed the spaceship safely. After they landed, Neil was the first person to step onto the moon. People all over the world watches as Neil stepped onto the moon and put an American flag there. Neil’s footprint is still on the moon today, because there is no wind on the moon to blow it away.
Like Neil, you can be curious about the world around you. Neil was curious about airplanes and space and learned all he could about both of them so he could become an astronaut. He also listened closely in school and did his homework so he could become an airplane builder. He was brave during the war when he was a fighter pilot. He was also brave when testing new airplanes. Before going to the moon he had to practice day after day in order to pilot the first space craft. Like Neil, you can do great things when you are curious, brave, learn new things and practice, practice, practice!