So here we are, the last few orbits before the much-awaited plummet towards the surface of Europa. The space scopes on board Cymru III are zeroed in on the chosen landing site – a spot about 200 metres north-east of the southern cliff face in the ‘arch’ of the surface feature we called “bigfoot”.
It takes nearly 4 hours for our craft to do each orbit of the planet and so timing will be critical when it comes to the descent. There will still be forward momentum to take into account when Dilwyn and Meg rush to the front of the ship with all the on-board furniture, winalot sacks and cases of Buckfast to tip the balance and nose the craft downwards towards destruction or glory*
The angle at which Cymru III slices through the thin Europan atmosphere might also be critical to the vertical speed and rate of descent. But we have only just thought of that and so are relying on the walls of the ice chasm to contain the blast and confine the debris to a small area.
This second photo, taken at higher magnification, to examine the crash/landing site* shows an unexpected bright yellow object at 7 o’clock position to the scope graticule. It’s regular outline piqued our curiousity and so we telautographed Dilwyn to have a closer look with the telescope.
The image that he faxed back astounded us. For it looked exactly like an everyday common or garden council grit bin. And when he adjusted the scope to maximum zoomification we saw that it was indeed one of our very own Denbighshire County Council grit bins!