Artist’s impression of Philae landing on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Credit: ESA/ATG medialab
Two years ago this week, the entire world was getting ready for a historic endeavour in space: the first soft landing of a human-made probe on a comet.
On 12 November 2014, Rosetta’s lander Philae landed on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, and while the landing didn’t go exactly as planned, Philae finally managed to secure itself to the nucleus and to conduct a series of scientific experiments in situ, while Rosetta kept observing the comet from a distance until the mission’s end last September.
As communicators of ESA’s science missions, we gathered at the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany, to follow Philae’s landing and report it via ESA’s web and social media. During the week, ESOC was packed with scientists and engineers from the Rosetta and Philae teams, members of the international press and a number of special guests. Among them was also Professor Klim Churyumov, who together with Svetlana Gerasimenko had discovered the comet back in 1969, and who sadly passed away last month.
Professor Churyumov and his interpreters with a 3D model of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko at ESOC on 11 November 2014. Credit: ESA/C.Carreau
The day before ...