ESA announced on Monday, September 15, 2014 that the landing site for Rosetta’s Philae lander has been decided. It is Site J on the top of the “head” of the comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, which is an irregularly shaped world that is just over 4 kilometers across at its widest point.
The Philae lander will set down on the comet on November 11. It will perform in-depth measurements to characterize the comet’s nucleus in situ, in a way that’s never been possible before.
Backup site will be Site C.
The decision to select Site J as the primary site was unanimous, ESA said, adding that the site was chosen because it offers the chance for the lander to analyze pristine material – characterize the properties of the nucleus – and study processes that drive the comet’s activity as it approaches its 2015 perihelion, or closest point to the sun.
Andrew R. Brown, an avid follower of the space program, writes frequently about space topics for EarthSky. Over several years, he has also suggested observations that were carried out by imaging teams of some space missions. He has lives in Ashford, Kent, United Kingdom and works for local government, Kent County Council.