Last quote by Paolo Ferri
Paolo Ferri quotes
In the sense that this is unprecedented, we can certainly compare it, but it's something different. We don't have a man on board [the Rosetta craft]. It is a revolution in that we've never gone to a comet and stayed on it. There have been 'fly-overs', but getting there and staying, that's the difficult thing. As no one has tried to land on one, yes, it is a historic first in space travel.
With Rosetta, we're going to stay with the comet for two years, so we're going to follow its evolution, or at least a big part of its evolution, the life of the comet that takes six years to go round the sun. We'll get to it at a time when it's still only slightly active. We're going to follow its activity as it approaches the Sun. It's going to start throwing out more and more gas and dust. In the end, we're going to land on it. This means that, after Rosetta, the science of comets will be completely transformed. That is a giant step.
Not to see it, well, we were in almost permanent contact for a lot of years, before and after its launch, and then we didn't see it for two and a half years. That does give that kid-calling-home feeling. On top of that, knowing we would only have a faint signal at a precise moment, like a line we'd agreed to call on in two years, well, the delay we got of three quarters of an hour, even though it was within the one-hour margin we'd allowed for, that wait was the longest 45 minutes in my life.
After a few weeks, we will be at a distance that will allow one of the most powerful telescopes we have on board to detect the comet. This detection is very important because it will allow us to target our manoeuvres in the right direction.