Rosetta’s Philae probe conducts first soft landing on a comet

In what must be the most important aerospace event of 2014, the ESA Rosetta probe has released the Philae probe, which then soft landed on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on November 12. This was the first time that a probe has ever soft landed on a comet nucleus, and is an extraordinary achievement in space exploration. Rosetta was launched in 2004 on an Ariane 5 and took a decade to fly to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

Detailed preview of the landing sequence.

This image of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was acquired by the Philae lander of the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission during Philae’s descent toward the comet on Nov. 12, 2014. Philae’s ROLIS (ROsetta Lander Imaging System) took the image at 14:38:41 UTC (6:38:41 a.m., PST) at a distance of approximately two miles (three kilometers) from the surface. The landing site is imaged with a resolution of about 10 feet (three meters) per pixel. Image credit: Copyright: ESA/Rosetta/Philae/DLR

Rosetta’s lander Philae is safely on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, as these first two CIVA images confirm. One of the lander’s three feet can be seen in the foreground. The image is a two-image mosaic. Image credit: Copyright ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA

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