“Cross your fingers, or press your thumbs if you are a German, that we hear something from the lander again,” Valentina Lommatsch of the Rosetta mission control centre in Germany.
I haven’t been able to establish whether she is German by origin. The name Valentina is not common in Germany. The pressing of thumbs caused surprise in some quarters:
The Germans are weird in other ways. According to Inglorious Basterds if asked to hold up three fingers, they use thumb and next two fingers. Hollywood wouldn’t lie to us would they???
theGermanStandard is a blog by Kathrin, a teacher of German in London which explains this kind of thing. If crossing your fingers doesn’t help, try pressing your thumbs has a picture too. The gesture seems to go back to gladiator fights in ancient Rome.
As Johnson noted, crossing your fingers suggests you are hoping to avoid the worst, whereas Daumen drücken is about hoping for success.
I was excited to read the tweets from Philae Lander, in view of the fact that tweeting hadn’t been invented when it set off:
.@ESA_Rosetta I’m feeling a bit tired, did you get all my data? I might take a nap… #CometLanding
But maybe they are further evidence of alien activity on the comet:
According to an email published on the website UFOSightingsDaily.com – which does a regular trade in alien sightings – this mission is part of a European Space Agency and Nasa cover-up to disguise the comet’s true alien nature.