Space

Philae Makes A Soft Touchdown

Google celebrates the historic comet landing with a doodle.

Philae has touched down on comet 67P, making history.

At 3:35 a.m. E.S.T., its mother ship Rosetta, set it free to glide away toward the duck-shaped comet. After seven hours of a gentle descent, pulled downward by the comet’s feeble gravity, it touched down on a flattish area on the comet’s head named Agilkia.

As comets generate a very weak gravitational field—due to their small size—the lander will have to lock itself onto 67P, by means of harpoons and ice screws, attached to its feet.

Sidelight: Since its launch in March, 2004, Rosetta has traveled farther than 67 billion Big Bens, stacked on top of each other.

h/t: NYT and ESA and THE TELEGRAPH

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