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Sep 15, 2014 5:59 AM

European Space Agency picks site for comet landing

The Associated Press

BERLIN (AP) The European Space Agency says it has decided on the spot where it will attempt the first landing on a comet, a maneuver that is one of the key elements of a decade-long mission.

The Paris-based agency plans to drop the 100-kilogram (220-pound) lander, called Philae, from its Rosetta space probe in November.

Scientists unanimously picked the landing spot, from five considered, on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko based on its relatively safe terrain.

But Stephan Ulamec, manager of the Philae lander project, said Monday that even with the chosen site "the risk is high."

There is a backup location on the 4-kilometer (2.5-mile) wide comet, too.

Scientists hope the lander will help them answer many questions about the origins and evolution of objects in the universe.


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