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ESA announces landing site on Rosetta’s comet

Rosetta spacecraft has been moving in tandem with its comet since August. On Monday, ESA announced the site of a November landing.

ESA has announced the Philae lander's touch down point.  It's Site J!

ESA has announced the Philae lander’s touch down point. It’s Site J!

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.

Read more about Site J as the landing site for the Rosetta mission, from ESA

Closeup on Site J, the landing site for the Philae lander in ESA's exciting Rosetta comet mission.

Closeup on Site J, the landing site for the Philae lander in ESA’s exciting Rosetta comet mission.

Site C.  This will be Philae's backup landing site.

Site C. This will be Philae’s backup landing site.

Andrew R. Brown