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AMNH: Science Bulletins | Rosetta Mission Lands Probe on Comet

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On November 12, 2014, more than a decade after launching, the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission was positioned to send a probe to the surface of 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, a small comet orbiting the Sun at a distance of hundreds of millions of kilometers. After a tense 7-hour descent (and a 30-minute transmission delay), mission control confirmed that the Philae probe had reached the comet’s surface. Comets are time capsules dating back to the earliest days of our solar system, and the data gathered by this mission will help scientists understand the forces that shaped the planets, and may reveal the role played by comets in delivering water and organic molecules to an infant Earth.