Philae, European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) Rosetta mission probe, has soft-landed on a comet. This is the first time in history this has been done.
It didn’t take Google long to whip up a Doodle to celebrate this amazing feat.
“Our ambitious Rosetta mission has secured a place in the history books: not only is it the first to rendezvous with and orbit a comet, but it is now also the first to deliver a lander to a comet’s surface,” said Jean-Jacques Dordain, ESA’s Director General. “With Rosetta we are opening a door to the origin of planet Earth and fostering a better understanding of our future. ESA and its Rosetta mission partners have achieved something extraordinary today.”
“After more than 10 years travelling through space, we’re now making the best ever scientific analysis of one of the oldest remnants of our Solar System,” said Alvaro Giménez, ESA’s Director of Science and Robotic Exploration. “Decades of preparation have paved the way for today’s success, ensuring that Rosetta continues to be a game-changer in cometary science and space exploration.”
Here’s an ESA video featuring some highlights.
Rosetta was launched on March 2, 2014. It traveled 6.4 billion kilometers through the Solar System before arriving at the comet in August. ESA has a lot more on the mission here.