Final countdown nears for 1st comet landing

2014-11-11 20:30
The deployment of the Philae lander to comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko from the Rosetta spacecraft. (ESA, AP)

The deployment of the Philae lander to comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko from the Rosetta spacecraft. (ESA, AP)

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Berlin - The final countdown is approaching for one of the most audacious space adventures ever - the European Space Agency's attempt to land a robot on a comet.

The manoeuvre marks the climax of the unmanned Rosetta space probe's decade-long journey to study comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

Early on Wednesday, scientists at the mission control centre in Darmstadt, Germany, will decide whether to give Rosetta the go-ahead to release its sidekick, Philae.

The 100kg landing craft will drop in an uncontrolled manner down to the 4km wide comet and shoot harpoons into its icy surface to prevent it from bouncing off.

Scientists hope that the data collected by Rosetta and its lander will provide insights into the origins of comets and other objects in the universe.

Read more on:    european space agency  |  germany  |  space

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