Berlin, Frankfurt, Nov 13 (TruthDive): The European Space Agency (ESA) has accomplished a historic landing of Philae, a probe on a comet on Wednesday, which is the first and the foremost in the space exploration efforts. But, the status on the success of Philae landing is unclear still, as the harpoons had failed to fix itself properly to the surface of the comet. This problem is likely to hamper the planned investigations of the probe on the origins of the solar system and Earth.
The “first” landing of the European probe Philae on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was confirmed at about 1605 GMT. Rocket scientists at the ESA’s mission erupted in cheers, when they received the first signal that the probe had touched down the comet surface.
The Rosetta mission of ESA, which was launched in 2004, involved in a 10-year half billion kilometer journey with the objective of racing up with the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, orbiting it and then landing Philae softly on the comet.
The main aim of the mission is to have Rosetta satellite and Philae probe in a place to look at the comet that start firing off dust and gas to form a tail, when it gets heated while tossing at an incredible speed of 37km a second towards the sun.
During the 4 billion mile journey of the Rosetta mission, it was on its way to see the comet and it recoiled around the inner solar system like a cosmic billiard ball, circling the sun almost four times.
Lander Philae was released on November 12 from Rosetta satellite and began a seven-hour controlled descent to the comet surface. The 100-kg (220-pound) lander Philae – almost weightless on the surface of the comet – touched down the comet’s surface after a 7-hour decline from its circling mother ship Rosetta, that is now positioned at a distance of a half-billion kilometers (300 million miles) from Earth.
When, Philae landed on the comet’s surface, the harpoons intended to fix the probe to the surface, failed to function. But, flight directors are using other options to make sure the lander does not get back into space. Anyhow, its communications are unharmed and it can start sending data and pictures on the comet and its secrets.