LANDING ON A COMET – The Rosetta Mission

+++ Update +++
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.

DLR’s Rosetta special

After a 10-year journey of some seven billion kilometres, the Rosetta mission is now heading towards its next major milestone – setting the lander Philae on a comet.

On 12 November 2014, a lander is scheduled to touch down on a comet for the first time in the history of spaceflight. “We don’t know exactly what awaits us there,” says lander Project Manager Stephan Ulamec from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR).

Landing on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko will enable scientists to carry out experiments in situ for the first time. Comets are considered to be witnesses to the birth of the Solar System. Will the surface of the comet be in a primordial state? Do comets show evidence of prebiotic molecules and water, and did they therefore play a role in the origin of life on Earth? The Rosetta mission is expected to help answer such questions.

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DLR’s Rosetta special

Original Material: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)
Animation: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)
Additional Footage: ESA
Music: see end titles