“It will start as a point of light with a trail..”

Jules VerneAs I mentioned previously, Jules Verne is almost ready for its close-up.. Or as the BBC report puts it,

Europe’s biggest, most sophisticated spaceship is about to bring its six-month mission to an end by plunging into the Pacific in a ball of flames.

And if you can’t imagine that, they have an animation of it too. You can track the last moments of the ATV-1 here. And, don’t worry..

Mike Steinkopf, the mission director for re-entry, says a “safety zone” has been drawn in the south Pacific some 2,700km long by 200km wide. “We issue a notification to the air traffic and maritime authorities to make sure there are no planes or boats going through that zone during our re-entry time,” he told BBC News. … “We expect the solar panels to break just two-and-a-half-minutes after the entry into the atmosphere; and then we will have fragmentation of the docking adaptor, protective shields and other structural elements,” explained Mr Steinkopf. “Nevertheless, statistically speaking, there will be about 30% of the overall vehicle that may reach the ocean, but only in bits and pieces.”

Adds The ESA ATV blog has photos.
Jules Verne

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  • ben

    Anyone want to volunteer to try to explain this to Turgon and the rest of the anti-reality faction? “It’s a bit like Ezekiel’s chariot …”

  • cynic

    Ah …all those winged seraphim take me back to the 1970’s …………..

  • Alan

    But what about the guy in the wooden fishing boat, navigating by the stars and the movement of the ocean – did anyone tell him ?

  • Rory

    Plunging…in a ball of flames

    A metaphor no doubt for the result of recent capitalist excess.

  • susan

    My animation wasn’t working (cough), but the live satellite tracking is remarkable. Good Morning, Mongolia. If you close your eyes…you can almost hear Auden.

    Musee de Beaux Arts, W.H. Auden

    About suffering they were never wrong,
    The Old Masters: how well they understood
    Its human position; how it takes place
    While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
    How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
    For the miraculous birth, there always must be
    Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
    On a pond at the edge of the wood:
    They never forgot
    That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
    Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
    Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer’s horse
    Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.

    In Brueghel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
    Quite leisurely from the disaster; the plowman may
    Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
    But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
    As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
    Water; and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
    Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
    Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

  • Pete Baker


    Funnily enough the animation didn’t work for me either first time round.

    But I’ve added a photo from the ESA ATV blog of the re-entry.

    Oh, and nice touch with the Auden.

  • susan

    Pete, the shuttle mission to fix Hubble has been delayed til next year, among other highlights of the day:


    Stunning image or the fiery end. Hard not to think of Icarus, or the global economy.

  • Pete Baker

    Thanks, susan.

    Some other highlights here. ;o)

  • susan

    Beautiful. If only all today’s plunges on the planet were as orchestrated and went as smoothly as Jules Verne’s!

    I’ll stop with the markets. If we finish this week without a run on the US banks, I’ll be happy. I’ll go figure out what that rainbow thingy on the ESA site is now.

  • susan

    Pete. I did realise your highlights were from Mars, but I’m hopelessly stuck on earth tonight.


  • Pete Baker

    “but I’m hopelessly stuck on earth tonight.”

    Aren’t we all, susan, aren’t we all..