The Word on the Week

Rosetta Spacecraft

It made it, with a few adventures along the way and arrived this Wednesday, at Comet 67P, on schedule 10 years later. It carried its Lander called Philae, less elegantly described by the press as resembling a dishwasher, and released it to land on its predetermined spot on the Comet. A good shot considering the target was 316 million miles away!

This Comet which is 2.5 miles wide is a ball of rock, dust and ice. It is reckoned to be part of the debris which got dislodged with the various big bangs that made our universe. It presented difficult terrain to land on which is why Philae was equipped with three harpoons that were supposed to be fired into the surface of the Comet. Not only were they intended to anchor the Lander but they were designed to take the ground temperature and measure the density of the surface.

Despite the landing being gentle two of the harpoons failed to fire and Philae did three flops and two bounces (there is very little gravity) landing 0-5 of a mile from the target area. The main problem with this new location is that it is in the shade. Instead of getting 7 hours sunlight to recharge its batteries it now only gets 1.5 hours. This drastically reduces its ability to transmit data to the control centre in Darmstadt, Germany.

Like the original Egyptian Rosetta stone which had three languages written on it, Philae carries a “Rosetta Disc” inscribed with 13,000 pages of text in 1,200 different languages. I am not sure who they expect will read the material but you have to admit that these Germans are thorough!

The main reason for the €1.4 billion flight is to check for water. Science has given us various theories as to how the earth and living things came about but so far their collective imagination has been unable to account for all our water. Perhaps Comets were the ancient water carriers. What if loads of them bombarded our planet each depositing its water supply? OK you need faith to believe that one but if the alternative is to believe God’s account of creation (see Genesis Chapter 1 verses 2, 6 & 9 for water) then it presents an appalling vista for the atheist – the possibly the Biblical record is true.

Many recoil from this thought, carrying as it does accountability for what we do and judgement using Biblical standards. They invent a creator who having put things in place has gone away leaving us to our own devices.

Scripture does not give us that option. We have a “hands on” God. Referring to Jesus the writer to the Hebrews says “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Chapter 1 verse 3).

On the question of accountability Jesus said that on Judgement Day people will have to give an account even for every careless word spoken (St Matthew Chapter 12 verse 36).

The Bible was never meant to be read then recoil from it but to read and recognise that we need a saviour, one to be our advocate at the bar of God. As St John puts it “if anyone does sin we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1John Chapter 2 verse 1). Commit your ways to Him.