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The story of Rosetta and Philae: landed on a faraway comet

Rosetta and Philae reached their destination 510 million kilometres away from the Earth. It’s the first time that men succeed in sending something on a comet’s surface.

On 12th November 2014, after ten years departing the Earth, the lander Philae, which accompanied the Rosetta spacecraft, landed on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (67P/C-G) 510 million kilometres away from our Planet. It’s the first time that men achieve in sending something on a comet surface. The landing lasted about seven hours. But Rosetta’s and Philae’s trip has been long and complicated. Very long: billions of kilometres.

Due to the comet’s shape, the mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) was more complicated than the scientists expected: that’s why the Rosetta spacecraft had to move around the 67P/C-G before landing. We don’t know yet if Philae will have an easy time on the winding surface of the comet with its craters, cliffs and boulders the size of houses, but for ESA this is a great success because the lander provides useful information on the elemental composition of the comet’s surface.

 

The Rosetta spacecraft was named by European scientists after the Rosetta stone: scientists trusts that as the latter allowed archaeologists to translate hieroglyphics from Greek, so the spacecraft can contribute to better understand how planets and our solar system form. In the video (above), an explanation for children (but even adults) of the history of Rosetta and Philae made ​​by ESA to better understand the mission’s purpose.

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