Schoolchildren beam selfies into space via ESA tracking station

May 19, 2014
Wake up Rosetta school group. Students and teachers from Colegio Público (Peñaluenga) De El Castillo De Las Guardas, near Seville, pose by a model of Rosetta at ESA’s space astronomy centre, ESAC, during a special event to send the winning "Wake up, Rosetta!" videos into space via the 35 m-diameter deep-space dish at Cebreros, Spain. Credit: ESA

An enthusiastic group of schoolchildren sent a greeting to the future today, beaming a radio signal into space via an ESA tracking station in Spain.

In January, over 200 participants around the world sent us video selfies as part of ESA's Wake Up Rosetta campaign, with the videos collectively receiving some 75 000 votes. 

As the final prize, ESA today transmitted the top 10 video selfies into space, using one of the tracking stations that regularly communicates with Rosetta, sending them on a light-speed journey far into deep space.

The signal was transmitted at 12:22 GMT (14:22 CEST) with help by students and teachers from Colegio Público (Peñaluenga) De El Castillo De Las Guardas, near Seville, via the 35 m-diameter deep-space dish at Cebreros, Spain.

The students travelled to ESA's space astronomy centre, ESAC, near Madrid, for a guided tour of the Rosetta science operations facilities.

Colegio Peñaluenga participated in the Wake Up Rosetta campaign, submitting a marvellous video selfie shot in the school's science labs.

The 35 MB archive file of 10 videos was transmitted at 250 kbit/s in about three minutes.

The 35m dish antenna of ESA's Cebreros tracking station, Spain. Credit: Cebreros

The 'send' command was issued – loudly – by all the students in unison via the voice loop connecting Cebreros and the tracking network control room at ESA's ESOC operations centre, Darmstadt, Germany.

"On behalf of the Rosetta mission, I'd like to thank everyone who took part in the Wake Up campaign and especially the and teachers from Colegio Peñaluenga who assisted us today," said Fred Jansen, Rosetta Mission Manager.

"The broad public interest in Rosetta is an inspiration to the engineers, scientists and indeed all of us at ESA and numerous partner organisations working to make Rosetta a success."

Rosetta and Philae at comet. Credit: ESA–C. Carreau/ATG medialab

"In one second, today's signal will have passed the orbit of our Moon; in five minutes it will pass close to Mercury on its orbit around the Sun; and in about 30 minutes it will be as far away from Earth as Rosetta," notes Markus Landgraf, a mission analyst at ESOC.

"It's impossible to say with certainty what, eventually, will become of the sent today. As the famous scientist and communicator Carl Sagan once said, 'Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere.' "

Explore further: 'Wake up' competition for Europe's sleepy comet-chaser

Related Stories

Image: Rosetta's comet

January 21, 2014

( —ESA's Rosetta spacecraft woke up 20 January, after 31 months in deep space hibernation, to catch up with comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.

Rosetta wide awake as check-up continues

January 30, 2014

Following last week's wake-up of the Rosetta comet-chaser, ESA's flight controllers have conducted the first in a series of health checks aimed at assessing how well it came through 31 months of hibernation.

Image: Rosetta's Philae lander snaps a selfie

April 16, 2014

Philae is awake… and taking pictures! This image, acquired last night with the lander's CIVA (Comet nucleus Infrared and Visible Analyzer) instrument, shows the left and right solar panels of ESA's well-traveled Rosetta ...

Rosetta's target comet is becoming active

May 15, 2014

( —The target of ESA's Rosetta mission has started to reveal its true personality as a comet, its dusty veil clearly developing over the last six weeks.

Recommended for you

A blue, neptune-size exoplanet around a red dwarf star

November 25, 2015

A team of astronomers have used the LCOGT network to detect light scattered by tiny particles (called Rayleigh scattering), through the atmosphere of a Neptune-size transiting exoplanet. This suggests a blue sky on this world ...

The hottest white dwarf in the Galaxy

November 25, 2015

Astronomers at the Universities of Tübingen and Potsdam have identified the hottest white dwarf ever discovered in our Galaxy. With a temperature of 250,000 degrees Celsius, this dying star at the outskirts of the Milky ...

Aging star's weight loss secret revealed

November 25, 2015

A team of astronomers using ESO's Very Large Telescope has captured the most detailed images ever of the hypergiant star VY Canis Majoris. These observations show how the unexpectedly large size of the particles of dust surrounding ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.