Today, history has been made as the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Rosetta Mission becomes the first spacecraft to land on the surface of a comet. After separating from its comet-chasing companion, Rosetta, lander Philae touched down on the mysterious surface after a nail-biting 7 hour descent. Philae has boldy gone where no human-built spacecraft has ever gone before.
Dotted with large cliffs, boulders and jets of gas and dust, landing on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was no easy feat and was the most critical milestone in the decade long mission. Now that Philae is safely on the surface, it will use its instruments to conduct science and provide experts on Earth with clues into not only the comet’s history and origins but also our own. Humanity may well have begun with the help of comet seeding – the notion that a comet carrying water through the solar system collided into our planet, triggering life. We may soon be able to know the answer to this and many other secrets hidden in the treasure chest of knowledge that is comet 67P.
The possibilities are endless, and this mission marks the first of hopefully many momentous missions that really challenge us as a species and encourage us to work together as one to unlock the many mysteries of our Universe and protect our precious planet whilst we do so. Today I feel proud to not only be a part of this space-faring generation and a European, but most importantly to be human.
Now, that is one small step for Philae and one giant leap for mankind 🙂