Landing Site Chosen for Spacecraft's Daring Rendezvous With Comet
Finding a safe place to set down the European Space Agency's Rosetta lander was harder than expected.
Scientists announced Monday morning the spot where a small robot will touch down on the surface of a comet, in what they hope will be the first soft landing on a comet, as opposed to a crash landing.
When the European Space Agency's Rosetta spacecraft arrived at comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko this summer after a ten-year journey, scientists realized that landing on the lumpy chunk of ice and rock would be trickier than originally thought.
After a survey for sites that was a complex game of pin-the-lander-on-the-comet, the decision announced Monday is considered the best among the challenging options for setting down the probe, called Philae, on the comet’s craggy surface.