European Space Probe Makes First-Ever Landing On a Comet

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After a 10-year voyage, the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission has succeeded in landing a probe on a moving comet for the first time in history.

On Wednesday, the Philae probe (roughly the size of a typical washing machine) landed on the massive 2.5-mile wide comet nearly 4 billion miles from Earth (located halfway between the orbits of Jupiter and Mars.) Philae landed on an area called Agilkia, using harpoons and screws to latch on to the surface.

Now, Philae will samples and take measurements of the comet to help determine its composition and origin.

Why? It’s an attempt to answer some big questions about the origin of the universe. It will specifically study the composition of comets, and what happens as they approach the Sun.

Here’s how the landing went down:



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