Comet

European Space Agency announces landing site for Philae

Philae's primary landing site from ESA
Philae’s primary landing site from ESA

ESA has announced where the Philae lander will land on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. The Lander will detach from the Rosetta spacecraft and go in for a landing on what is called the “head” of the comet. The lander is expected to make it to the Comets surface on November 11th 2014.

This landing site was labeled as Site J and as Stephan Ulamec Philae Lander Manager at the DLR German Aerospace Center states “None of the candidate landing sites met all of the operational criteria at the 100% level, but Site J is clearly the best solution.”

Philae's primary landing site from ESA
Philae’s primary landing site from ESA

The site could not be chosen until the Rosetta spacecraft got close enough to the comet to take detailed images. This happened earlier this year in August and the team has been working hard since then to decide where to land.

Once the lander is on the comet it will hold on to the comet by piercing into the comets surface with a device similar to a harpoon. The lander will then go for a ride around the Sun and investigate the comets composition and evolution as it heats up and forms its coma and tail. The lander will also be looking at the inside of the comet a little bit further with tools that will scan the inside of the comet and get a better idea of its internal structure.

After multiple gravity assists from Earth and Mars the time has finally come to land on the comet.

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