13 Nov 2014

The Philae probe touchdown - Professor Sergei Gulyaev

From Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm, 2:07 pm on 13 November 2014

A depiction of the Philae probe touchdown CC BY DLR German Aerospace Center

A depiction of the Philae probe touchdown. Image: CC-BY 3.0 DLR German Aerospace Center.

After a 64 billion kilometer journey a robotic space probe has landed on a comet for the first time in history.

The Philae probe touched down on comet 67P last night to the jubilation of mission controllers at the European Space Agency, who launched the probe on board the Rosetta spacecraft more than ten years ago. But the excitement has been tempered by the news harpoons meant to secure Philae to the comet have failed to fire. There have been fears the Philae may have bounced off the surface.

Professor Sergei Gulyaev explains.