Philae landed on comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko: follow the news!

Nov 11, 2014 No Comments by 3551 views

On November 12, 2014 and after 10 years of travel, the European Space Agency (ESA) carried out the first unmanned descent and landing on the surface of a comet’s nucleus. Here you can find some links to follow this mission and get detailed information about Rosetta and Philae.

The Philae lander detached from Rosetta spacecraft and performed a soft landing on a selected area –recently named Agilkia– of comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko. This was not a fast landing event, like the Curiosity rover on 2012. Actually was a complicate manoeuvre and pretty slow (7-hour) descent.

Top left image: close-up of the region containing Philae’s primary landing site Agilkia, which is located on the ‘head’ of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko (see more details here).

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 21.27.56 Image: comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko, by Rosetta.

ESA has confirmed that both the Rosetta and Philae are in perfect conditions. Philae will carry out “elemental, isotopic, molecular and mineralogical composition of the cometary material, the characterization of physical properties of the surface and subsurface material, the large-scale structure and the magnetic and plasma environment of the nucleus” (Bibring et al., 2007). Philae instruments will analyse surface and sub-surface samples, at least during the first five days of mission after touchdown. The lander will rely both on solar power and batteries, so its lifetime could span from several weeks to a maximum of 4-5 months in the best case scenario.


Below you can find some links to follow this mission and get detailed information about Rosetta and Philae. Also we will update you with news at our own EAG Facebook and Twitter pages.

Main websites of Rosetta
Rosetta at ESA
Rosetta at DLR
Rosetta website at Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Livestream of Philae’s landing on 12 November 2014
Livestream at DLR
Livestream at ESA (1)
Livestream at ESA (2)
Livestream at NASA TV

Landing timelines:
ESA timeline explained
– ESA timeline detailed

Animations of landing of Philae and other videos:
Animations at DLR
Rosetta animations in ESA’s YouTube channel

Images of the landing site:
Agikilia global view
Agikilia detailed view
The best 10 images (so far, before Philae landing) of comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko

Brief summary of science that Philae will do during the first days:
Summary at ESA blog
Summary at the Planetary Society blog

Rosetta-Philae blog:
Blog at ESA
Rosetta and Philae blog – The Planetary Society
Rosetta and Philae in social media
Facebook page of Rosetta
Twitter page of Rosetta
Twitter page of Philae
Twitter page of ESA
Twitter page of ESA Science
Twitter page of ESA Operations
REE feed of Rosetta-Philae

Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko images at ESA:
ESA imagery
Flickr imagery

Other websites:
Location of Rosetta in the solar system (interactive)Main ESA website
Brochure about Rosetta-Philae (ESA)
Rosetta coverage in Science Magazine
A good article explaining the difficulties of landing on the surface of a comet (Nature News)

Focal point, General

About the author

Dr. Juan Diego Rodriguez-Blanco is a Ussher Assistant Professor in Nanomineralogy at the Department of Geology, School of Natural Sciences, Trinity College Dublin.
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