Philae space probe lands on comet

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

3-D model of Rosetta. The actual Rosetta is black.
Image: IanShazell.

Scientists from the European Space Agency (ESA) announced yesterday the Philae space probe, as part of the Rosetta mission, has landed on a comet called Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. It is the first time ever a controlled landing has been made on a comet.

Scientists say the anchors that hold the probe on the comet's surface malfunctioned and they are investigating this. Although the anchors malfunctioned, many have treated the mission as a success.

The ESA director general said, "Our ambitious Rosetta mission has secured a place in the history books".

The space probe took a decade and traveled six billion kilometers to reach the comet, as it orbited through the solar system.

The purpose of the Rosetta mission is to learn how a comet works and to investigate the origins of planets. Scientists plan on gathering data on the comet from the probe for about a year. They plan to see how the comet interacts with the sun's solar winds.

Comets may possibly have been a source of water delivery to the earth along with organic matter that can form proteins and support life. Scientists hope to understand how planets form, especially how the Earth formed, since comets collided with the Earth long ago.


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