This morning the ESA Space Probe Rosetta has successfully sent a lander to a comet. This was the first time humanity has ever accomplished such a task. It’s been confirmed as of 10:05 AM Central Time that the Philae Lander has touched down and that the Rosetta craft is indeed receiving signals from the surface of the comet. This 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is the first comet to have been landed on by a human-sent craft in space. Now we begin the wait for photos from the surface.
What we’re waiting for now is photos from the surface, which may take several hours to be taken and beamed back to earth. The gallery you see here contains several photos taken by the Rosetta mission craft before landing. Just imagine the quality once images are sent back from the surface!
The next image you’re going to see comes from ROLIS. ROLIS is also known as the ROsetta Lander Imaging System, and has been developed by the DLR Institute of Planetary Research in Berlin for this specific mission. This camera is a descent and close-up camera that will likely continue to play a big role in the photography on this mission.
UPDATE: The following gallery will contain only images taken from the SURFACE of the comet. More on the way!
NOTE: Times listed in this article are reported confirmed times – that is, times when the ESA reported, that’s after the signals had been sent from the comet and received all the way back at Earth. Expected actual landing time was 15:34 UTC.
As of 10:15 Central Time, harpoons have been confirmed fired and reeled in. The flywheel for the craft has been switched off, and landing is essentially complete.
First you’re going to see the Rosetta mission comet landing up to lander separation. The next video to be released by the European Space Agency will be the landing itself.
Below you’ll see a mocked up vision of the landing sequence as put to music by Vangelis. Fun fact: Vangelis was responsible for the soundtrack to Blade Runner.
The timeline you see below will show you several points in the history of the Rosetta mission as it took off and began its journey into space.