And scientists are using any means possible to grab as much data as they can before she dies. In this fraught situation, thinking about the small details of battery life and the huge misfortune that the Philae Lander landed in an area without enough solar energy to recharge her battery, we began to wonder about this project.
For a Linguist, or any Language Lover, Rosetta is a Beautiful Name
First off, the name Rosetta is wonderful to hear. And, sure enough, the spacecraft is named after the infamous Rosetta Stone, that key to unravelling the civilization of Ancient Egypt. On their official website, the reason for the name is that Rosetta is also unlocking the mysteries of the oldest building blocks of our Solar System – the comets. In this way, by using the keys found in the data grabbed by Rosetta, scientists will be able to chip away a bit further at the mystery of how it all began.
European Tower of Babble, and a New Lingua Franca
What we also couldn’t help but notice, though, is the use of the word Rosetta in a space station that, above all the other things it does, also manages to run itself, seamlessly, though its members native languages are as diverse as those on the original Rosetta Stone. In 1989, I had the good fortune to be friends with a physicist working at CERN (the European Center for Nuclear Research) and one of the things I was most struck by at that time was how all the scientists could work together, and work efficiently, through their different and quite diverse languages and cultures.
The scientists use French and English as their Lingua Franca, sure, but it is a second language for many of them, and each has their own culture in back of that native language. The fact that the European Space Agency can work so well with so many languages and cultures is something we admire and look up to.
As the European Space Agency notes, knowledge of both French and English is necessary to work for them, but things often get done in other languages as well. It is more than helpful to know a second language, or many languages.
More evidence that bilingualism pays. The benefits of bilingualism, and then multilingualism include not only the benefits of more career choices, but the ability to work together with people from many different countries, to create something that will ultimately unlock the mysteries of the solar system and universe.