Like many of the others involved in sending a washing machine sized lander four billion miles to land on a comet I was glued to the news from ESA mission control yesterday. It’s almost twenty years since I worked on one of the instruments and while slingshotting around the Earth and Venus to rendezvous is easy – as long as you have a rocket and a bit of fuel it is just some relatively simple maths – the tricky bit is making sure something still works when it arrives.
Apart from the timescales it’s not too different from my subsequent career which involves turning interesting bits of technology into products that someone wants to buy. While we don’t have to fire them into space, keeping them still working after taking a kicking from investors and customers can be an equally big challenge.
Fortunately we don’t have to wait twenty years to know if a new business has been a success.