Touchdown! Rosetta’s Philae makes first ever landing on a comet
UPDATE: ESA’s Rosetta mission has soft-landed its Philae probe on to the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The signal confirming the successful touchdown arrived on Earth at 16:03 GMT (17:03 CET), it’s the first time in history that such an extraordinary feat has been achieved and it’s a great milestone for space exploration and Europe. Read here the full press release from ESA.
LIVE VIDEO FEED | In a few hours a major milestone in space exploration will take place when the Rosetta orbiter deploys a small robotic lander named Philae towards comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. This is the first time a spacecraft will reach the surface of a comet and, if successful, will greatly increase our knowledge in this field. Rosetta was launched over 10 years ago and followed an extremely complex trajectory with deep space maneuvers that used the gravity of Earth and Mars to propel it alongside its target and successfully orbit around it. Now the next step, Philae’s landing, will be transmitted live. See the video feed below.
Landing on the comet will be quite tricky: its weak gravity could allow the lander to bounce and escape into deep space. The shape of the surface was unknown until Rosetta came close enough so the landing spot was only recently selected. Philae is equipped with shock absorbers, spring loaded drills and even a harpoon that should be enough to keep it attached upon landing.
You can watch the live transmission from ESA below:
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