Philae landed on a comet and Bruce Willis wasn’t involved

Farewell Philae - narrow-angle view Rosetta’s OSIRIS narrow-angle camera captured this parting shot of the Philae lander after separation. The lander separated from the orbiter at 09:03 GMT/10:03 CET and is expected to touch down on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko seven hours later. Confirmation of a successful touchdown is expected in a one-hour window centred on 16:02 GMT / 17:02 CET. Rosetta and Philae had been riding through space together for more than 10 years. While Philae is set to become the first probe to land on a comet, Rosetta is the first to rendezvous with a comet and follow it around the Sun. The information collected by Philae at one location on the surface will complement that collected by the Rosetta orbiter for the entire comet. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

You may not have been following Philae’s Twitter feed for the last few months but you probably saw the news that the European Space Agency’s probe has landed on a comet designated 67P yesterday.

This is a tremendous achievement:

Jason Snell wrote a short post titled “Philae lands on a comet” commemorating the landing and I think he captured the achievement nicely in these words:

Space is immense and we are very small. What we think of as the world is a thin skin of cool surface above a hot, molten blob, all wrapped in an incredibly thin shell of atmosphere that keeps us alive.

And yet we built a machine that flew 30 light minutes away, launched a probe, and attached it to a chunk of debris that’s been bobbing around since the dawn of the solar system.

Pretty cool.

Here is a photo of the comet on approach, just before Philae landed on 67P. The comet is apparently shaped like a duck!

ROLIS descent image

You can follow Philae’s progress on Twitter:


By Paul

Enthusiast, writer, Happiness Engineer at Automattic. I take photos too. Passionate about my wife, Gina and #proudDad.

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