The comet lander Philae has successfully landed on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and signalled mission control in Darmstadt, Germany. (The one-way radio transmission to Earth takes 28 minutes.)
This summary is from NASA, which has instruments aboard the European Space Agency Rosetta space probe.
Earlier this morning, the European Space Agency's
Rosetta Mission deployed its comet lander, Philae. Seven hours later
at 11 a.m. EST, the experiment-laden, harpoon-firing Philae is set to
touch down on the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
will be the first time in history that a spacecraft has attempted a soft
landing on a comet. Rosetta is an international mission led by the
European Space Agency (ESA), with instruments provided by its member
states, and additional support and instruments provided by NASA.
Television will provide live coverage from 9-11:30 a.m. EST of Rosetta
scheduled landing of a probe on a comet today. NASA's live commentary
will include excerpts of the ESA coverage and air from 9-10 a.m. EST.
NASA will continue carrying ESA's commentary from 10-11:30 a.m. EST.
ESA’s Philae (fee-LAY) lander is scheduled to touch down on comet
67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko at 10:35 a.m. EST. A signal confirming
landing is expected at approximately 11:02 a.m. EST.
landing, Philae will obtain the first images ever taken from a comet's
surface. It also will drill into the surface to study the composition
and witness close up how a comet changes as its exposure to the sun
varies. Philae can remain active on the surface for approximately
two-and-a-half days. Its “mothership” is the Rosetta spacecraft that
will remain in orbit around the comet through 2015. The orbiter will
continue detailed studies of the comet as it approaches the sun and then
moves away. NASA has three of the 16 instruments aboard the orbiter.
are considered primitive building blocks of the solar system that are
literally frozen in time. They may have played a part in "seeding" Earth
with water and, possibly, the basic chemical ingredients for life.
Watch NASA TV online at: http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv