Philae: Spacecraft that landed on a Comet

Illustration of Philae on the Comet (Image credit: ESA)
In the past 24 hours, Philae has been making headlines all over the world. So, just to give you guys a brief input on what is Philae and its main mission. Philae is a spacecraft designed by the European Space Agency (ESA). It is carried by a 100 kg weighing Rosetta space probe. It's about the size of a washing machine while the comet it landed is about 4 km wide.

Rosetta and Philae were launched ten years back on March 2, 2004. It finally made the landing on the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on November 12, 2014. While the landing was not smooth, the spacecraft was stable and started sending images the next day on November 13, 2014.

The main goal of Philae is to study the comet's surface by taking pictures and by doing in-situ analysis to determine the composition of the comet. Those details will provide the much needed information to the scientists to better understand the birth and evolution of our Solar System.

On 12 November 2014, Philae became the first lander to achieve controlled touchdown on the surface of a comet.

Source: ESA



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