Seven Days Out: ESA’s Historic Landing on a Comet is Just a Week Away

In less than a week, on November 12, 2014, the Philae lander will separate from ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft and descend several kilometers down to the dark, dusty and frozen surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Its three spindly legs and rocket-powered harpoon are all that will keep the 100-kilogram spacecraft from crashing or bouncing hopelessly back out into space. It will be the culmination of a decade-long voyage across the inner Solar System, a testament to human ingenuity and inventiveness and a shining example of the incredible things we can achieve through collaboration.

Philae is getting ready for his biggest challenge yet!
Philae is getting ready for his biggest challenge yet!

But first, Philae has to get there… to touch down safely in the chosen site (named Agilkia, after a small island in the Nile) and successfully become, as designed, the first human-made object to soft-land on a comet. How will the little spacecraft pull off such a daring maneuver around a tumbling chunk of icy rubble traveling over 18 kilometers a second? The German Aerospace Center (DLR) has released a video about the event, with a finale worthy of the best sci-fi film. Watch it above, and follow along with the landing on Twitter with the hashtag #CometLanding.

Want a more playful version of Rosetta and Philae’s upcoming adventure? Check out the latest animated video from ESA below:

Go Philae! Go Rosetta! We’re all rooting for you!

Want to watch the landing events live as they happen? NASA TV will be airing ESA’s coverage on Wed. Nov. 12 from 9–11:30 a.m. EST (6–8:30 a.m. PST); you can watch right here on LITD via the TV link at right in the sidebar, or find other links here.

Video credit: DLR & ESA


  1. Jeff Barani says:

    Go Philae, go !! Good luck for your landing on the comet !!
    Jeff Barani from France (France)


    1. JPMajor says:

      This will be an amazing event! Best of luck to Philae, Rosetta, and ESA!


Comments are closed.