European probe lands successfully on comet 67P

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Rosetta’s probe, Philae, has successfully landed on its comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

After a daring seven-hour descent, the probe has made space history by becoming the firstever craft to land on a comet. …

However, while the lander has touched down on the comet using its harpoons, scientists said that it had not yet deployed its anchors which meant that it was not completely attached to the surface.

The surface was much softer than they expected, so there were some concerns that it was not securely fixed on the comet … The probe was in free fall for during ‘seven hours of terror’, before attempting to land on the icy surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko at a site called Agilkia.

‘We’ll need some luck not to land on a boulder or a steep slope,’ said Stephan Ulamec, Philae Lander Manager at the DLR German Aerospace Center, ahead of the landing. Philae’s cold thruster is nitrogen-powered and is designed to fire on landing in order to prevent the probe from flying off into space due to the comet’s weak gravity.

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