Saying it out loud makes it even cooler. Try it.
“We’re landing on a comet.”
A miniature spacecraft cast off from its mother ship Wednesday to start a lonely, nerve-wracking descent to the rugged terrain of a comet.
The European Space Agency’s washing-machine-sized spaceship, named Philae, detached from its carrier just after 3:30 a.m. ET. It faced a seven-hour trip to the comet’s boulder-strewn surface, with no way to steer or turn back.
If it touches down safely, Philae will enter the record books as the first craft to make a safe landing on a comet.
It took ten years to get there, and what we learn will make it all worthwhile — if they can stick the landing.
The lander touched down on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko at about 1605 GMT.
There were cheers and hugs at the control room in Darmstadt, Germany, after the signal was confirmed.
It was designed to shine a light on some of the mysteries of these icy relics from the formation of the Solar System.
The landing caps a 6.4 billion-kilometre journey that was begun a decade ago.
“This is a big step for human civilisation,” said Jean-Jacques Dordain, the director-general of the European Space Agency (Esa).