ESA announces comet landing site, shows spectacular photos

Illustration for article titled ESA announces comet landing site, shows spectacular photos

As it releases closer and closer photos of the comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the European Space Agency has announced the landing site for Philae, the little spaceship that will be launched from the Rosetta mothership to touch down on the surface of this object—the first comet landing in history.

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Here's the primary landing site:

Illustration for article titled ESA announces comet landing site, shows spectacular photos
Illustration for article titled ESA announces comet landing site, shows spectacular photos

Site J is on the 'head' of the comet, an irregular shaped world that is just over 4 km across at its widest point. The decision to select Site J as the primary site was unanimous. The backup, Site C, is located on the 'body' of the comet.

The 100 kg lander is planned to reach the surface on 11 November, where it will perform indepth measurements to characterise the nucleus in situ, in a totally unprecedented way.

I can't wait for November 11, the day of the landing.


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DISCUSSION

This is so crazy amazing! I really hope everything goes as planned. It's going to be fascinating to be taking pictures FROM a comet as it whips around the sun. With every new image release, this thing looks more and more alien.