Radio Sandwell News

Robot probe Philae makes historic comet landing

2014-11-12 18:11:08


Philae (shown in this artist's impression) should offer fresh insights into the origins of our Solar System

European robot probe Philae has made the first, historic landing on a comet, after descending from its mothership.

The lander touched down on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko at about 1605 GMT.

There were cheers and hugs at the control room in Darmstadt, Germany, after the signal was confirmed.

It was designed to shine a light on some of the mysteries of these icy relics from the formation of the Solar System.


Euphoria in the control room in Darmstadt, Germany, after the signal was confirmed

The landing caps a 6.4 billion-kilometre journey that was begun a decade ago.

"This is a big step for human civilisation," said Jean-Jacques Dordain, the director-general of the European Space Agency (Esa).

Shortly after the touchdown was confirmed, Stephan Ulamec, the mission's lander chief, said: "Philae is talking to us... we are on the comet."

The robot was due to deploy harpoons to fasten itself to the 2.5-mile-wide ball of ice and dust.

Scientists will use Philae to take pictures of the comet's landscape and to analyse its chemical composition.

They are hoping the its surface materials will hold fresh insights into the origins of our Solar System more than 4.5 billion years ago.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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