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Landing success! Philae makes history with first-ever landing on a comet


ESA Operations have just confirmed – Rosetta's lander named "Philae" successfully landed on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko on November 12, 2014. The touch down happened about 15:34 UTC, while the confirmation signal, as expected, arrived shortly after 16:00 UTC. 

Philae is now on a comet, 511 million km away from Earth. "We are there, and Philae is talking to us, " ESA announced at 16:09 UTC.

Philae took this parting shot of its mothership shortly after separation. The image was taken with the lander’s CIVA-P imaging system and captures  one of Rosetta's 14 meter-long solar arrays. It was stored onboard the lander until the radio link was established with Rosetta around two hours after separation, and then relayed to Earth.

Farewell, Rosetta. Image credit: ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA

About the same time Rosetta took a parting image of Philae as the lander began its seven-hour descent to the surface of the comet.

Farewell, Philae. Image credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

Rosetta and Philae had been riding through space together for more than 10 years. While Philae has now become the first probe to land on a comet, Rosetta is already 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.


Soft landing was confirmed and Philae is alive on a comet, however, safe anchoring confirmation is still pending. It's harpoons did not fire as scheduled and Philae might have bounced twice, lifted and turned. 

"We still do not fully understand what has happened," says Philae lander manager Stephan Ulamec.

November 13, 2014

Rosetta’s lander Philae is safely on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, as these first two CIVA images confirm, ESA said today. One of the lander’s three feet can be seen in the foreground. The full panoramic from CIVA will be delivered in this afternoon’s press briefing.

"Welcome to a comet" – Image credit: ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA

Latest updates on the mission status and first images can be found here.

Featured image credit: ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA


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One Comment

  1. Great day for Humanity! Bravo ESA ! at this exact moment I’m wondering : what light will this mission bring on the ” NASA snowball comet theory” ? and what is this mysterious sound coming from this comet? great day for Jim Mccanney too 🙂

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