The European Space Agency has announced the landing site for the Rosetta spacecraft lander Philae on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. That’s right… a spacecraft is going to land on a comet… boom! The site, site J, was picked from a number of candidate sites.
Site J is on the ‘head’ of the comet, an irregular shaped world that is just over 4 km across at its widest point. The decision to select Site J as the primary site was unanimous. The backup, Site C, is located on the ‘body’ of the comet.
“As we have seen from recent close-up images, the comet is a beautiful but dramatic world – it is scientifically exciting, but its shape makes it operationally challenging,” says Stephan Ulamec, Philae Lander Manager at the DLR German Aerospace Center.
“None of the candidate landing sites met all of the operational criteria at the 100% level, but Site J is clearly the best solution.”