History was made this month when The European Space Agency (ESA) successfully landed Philae on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
Rosetta launched in 2004 and arrived at comet 67P/C-G. on 6 August 2014. It is the first mission in history to rendezvous with a comet, escort it as it orbits the sun, and deploy a lander to its surface.
On 12 November, the Philae lander separated from the Rosetta orbiter, and started its journey to becoming the first spacecraft to touch down on a comet. The descent to the surface took around seven hours, during which time the lander took measurements of the environment and images of the final moments of descent.
Touchdown was confirmed at ESA’s Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany at 17:03 CET on 12 November.
For the first time in history, scientists and engineers are busy analysing this new world and the nature of the landing. They revealed that the lander did not just touch down once, but three times, the harpoons did not fire and Philae appeared to be rotating after the first touchdown, which indicated that it had lifted from the surface again.
The lander currently remains unanchored to the surface at an as yet undetermined orientation. The science instruments are running and are delivering images and data giving the world a glimpse of outerspace.