On November 12, the Rosettaspace probe performed the first soft landing on a comet and returned data from the surface. With five image sensors designed by e2v, Rosetta and its lander, Philae, will be used to perform a detailed study of the 67p/Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet.
The probe was launched in 2004 and since then, has been used to orbit comet 67p andmap its nucleus in great detail, in order to learn more about the comet’s characteristics and physical conditions. In September, a landing site was identified and just months later, the ESA’s Rosetta mission landed the Philae lander probe on the comet, the first time in history that such a feat has been achieved. After separating from the probe, Philae made a seven-hour descent to the surface of the comet and shortly thereafter, the confirmation was relayed via the Rosetta orbiter to Earth and picked up simultaneously by ESA’s ground station in Malargüe, Argentina and NASA’s station in Madrid, Spain.
Data from the lander’sinstruments was then transmitted to the Philae Science, Operations and Navigation Centre at France’s CNES space agency in Toulouse.
"Our ambitious Rosetta mission has secured a place in the history books: not only is it the first to rendezvous with and orbit a comet, but it is now also the first to deliver a lander to a comet’s surface," said Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA’s Director General in apress release. "With Rosetta we are opening a door to the origin of planet Earth and fostering a better understanding of our future. ESA and its Rosetta mission partners have achieved something extraordinary today."
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