Next Wednesday, November 12, in a move that could set a new standard for difficulty, the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft will drop a lander named Philae onto the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.
How hard is this landing? Art Chmielewski, the U.S. Rosetta Project Manager at JPL, said:
Consider this. The comet will be moving 40 times faster than a speeding bullet, spinning, shooting out gas and welcoming Rosetta on the surface with boulders, cracks, scarps and possibly meters of dust!
Bottom line: A new NASA video previews the November 12, 2014 first-ever landing on a comet by the Rosetta spacecraft’s Philae lander.
Eleanor Imster has helped write and edit EarthSky since 1995. She was an integral part of the award-winning EarthSky radio series almost since it began until it ended in 2013. Today, as Lead Editor at EarthSky.org, she helps present the science and nature stories and photos you enjoy. She also serves as one of the voices of EarthSky on social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and G+. She and her husband live in Tennessee and have two grown sons.