People are about to make their first attempt to land a robot on the surface of a comet. The purpose: exploration. The perk: nice views.
If all goes to plan, the European Rosetta spacecraft will release its landing probe, Philae, which in turn will touch down on the surface of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko at 11 a.m. New York time on Wednesday.
It’s the culmination of a decade-long mission that has spanned 4 billion circuitous miles of space. Philae will drill into the comet and retrieve samples for testing.
Click ahead for more stunning photos released this week by the European Space Agency, taken a mere 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) from the comet’s core.
Source: bloomberg, European Space Agency – ESA