The European Space Agency created history when its Rosetta mission turned out to be a success as its robot probe Philae landed on the comet 67P on Wednesday 12th November about 300 million miles away from Earth. It was a scene of jubilation at the ESA as executives and scientists hugged and high-fived each other as soon as the landing was made official. Although there was a small glitch as the craft lifted off the comet after touchdown before returning to the surface, it didn’t stop the celebrations. However, prior to the event, the attempts made by various space agencies have been a failure as all the spacecrafts crashed into the comet.
Once the probe left Rosetta, it needed the help of anchoring harpoons, which was configured to shoot into the extraterrestrial body to fix it to the surface. However, the harpoons didn’t fire and the probe was not secure firmly. Anchoring is very important as gravity on the comet is 100000 times weaker than on Earth. The landing manager of Philae Stephan Ulamec is still trying to find out what really happened.
It took seven hours for the probe to make a touchdown on the duck-shaped surface of the comet after it got detached from the Rosetta orbiter. Philae had to travel a distance of 14 miles before it made a landing on the lump of dust and ice. European Space Agency’s Director Jean-Jacques Dordain said that with this landing, the mission has managed to place itself in the history books and it will help them in getting answers to a lot of questions about the history of the solar system.
Rosetta was launched some 10 years back and traveled a whopping 6.4 billion miles before making it to the comet. The people working on the mission led by ESA along with a consortium of partners including NASA will have their task cut out to study the material they discover on the comet.