European robot Philae lands on comet, making space history
Wednesday, 12 November 2014
The European robot probe, Philae, landed on the nucleus of a comet on Wednesday, a first in space history, said the European Space Agency (ESA). “We’ve landed on the comet”, “we are very excited,” said Andrea Accomazzo, flight director for the Rosetta mission to the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt (Germany ), shortly after 4:00pm GMT, to much applause.
“This is a big step for the human race,” said Jean-Jacques Dordain, Director General of ESA. “We are the first to have achieved this and we will always be,” he said.
The robotic lab is to take samples which will provide information on the origins of our solar system, maybe even on the appearance of water and life on Earth.
Philae was released by the European probe Rosetta seven hours earlier, over 510km from the Earth.
This landing is the cherry on the pie for both a space mission that was launched over twenty years ago and the decade-long interplanetary journey the robot has made with Rosetta.