Space & Astronomy
Philae probe successfully lands on comet
By T.K. Randall
November 12, 2014 · 209 comments
Philae has touched down on comet 67P. Image Credit: CC BY 3.0 German Aerospace Center
Rosetta's companion spacecraft has made history today by touching down on the surface of a comet.
There was much to celebrate at the mission control room in Darmstadt, Germany this afternoon as the Philae probe's touchdown on the surface of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was confirmed by the European Space Agency.
The lander, which traveled over 6.4 billion kilometers with the Rosetta spacecraft during a journey spanning 10 years, successfully managed to anchor itself to the comet and sank around 4cm in to the surface as it landed.
"This is a big step for human civilization," said ESA director-general Jean-Jacques Dordain.
For a while it looked as though things might have gone awry when the probe experienced problems with its thrusters during the descent, but despite the difficulties the landing was a success.
Professor Monica Grady, who had worked on the mission from its earliest days, was ecstatic. "I can't believe it, it's fantastic, we've landed - we've waited so long for this," she said.
The probe is believed to have already taken photographs of its new home which have been successfully returned to Earth and are currently being processed in preparation for release.
Source: BBC News
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