Scientists set for historic comet landing attempt | Inquirer News

Scientists set for historic comet landing attempt

/ 03:44 PM November 12, 2014
The picture taken with the navigation camera on Rosetta and released by the European Space Agency ESA shows a raised plateau on the larger lobe of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. It was captured from a distance of 9.8 km from the center of the comet (7.8 km / 4.8 miles from the surface) Oct. 24,  2014. On Wednesday, Nov. 12,  2014 the Philae lander will be detached from Rosetta to land on the comet. (AP Photo/ESA)

The picture taken with the navigation camera on Rosetta and released by the European Space Agency ESA shows a raised plateau on the larger lobe of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. It was captured from a distance of 9.8 km from the center of the comet (7.8 km / 4.8 miles from the surface) Oct. 24, 2014. On Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014 the Philae lander will be detached from Rosetta to land on the comet. AP

BERLIN— Scientists at the European Space Agency are poised to begin a historic attempt to land a spacecraft on a comet.

It would be the climax of a decade-long mission to study the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

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The decision whether to proceed will be made before 0735 GMT (2:25 a.m. EST) on Wednesday.

If all goes to plan, the lander will separate from Rosetta about an hour later and drift down to the comet, where it will latch on using harpoons and screws.

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Confirmation of a landing, if successful, should reach Earth — 500 million kilometers (311 million miles) away — by about 1603 GMT (11:03 a.m. EST).

Scientists hope the mission will help them learn more about the origins of comets and other celestial bodies.

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TAGS: 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, Comet, European Space Agency, landing, Rosetta, Space
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