Oct 15, 2014 11:23 AM
Spacecraft to attempt comet landing next month
The Associated Press
BERLIN (AP) The European Space Agency has confirmed the time and place it will attempt to land the first spacecraft on a comet.
The agency said Wednesday its unmanned probe Rosetta will release the 100-kilogram (220-pound) lander at 0835 GMT (3:35 EST) on Nov. 12.
The aim is to drop its lander Philae at a location dubbed 'Site J' on the 4-kilometer (2.5-mile) wide comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
The maneuver will take about seven hours. But because the radio signals take 28 minutes to travel hundreds of millions of miles (kilometers) back to Earth, confirmation of a successful landing won't arrive until about 1603 GMT (11:03 a.m. EST).
Scientists hope the mission will help them learn more about the origins and evolution of objects in the universe.