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News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

Rosetta comet landing date selected

• gizmag.com

Six weeks after arrival at the comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko (67P), Rosetta's handlers have tentatively announced November 12 as the date for the historic touchdown.

Earlier this month, mission operators selected the primary and backup landing sites for the Philae lander. Out of an original 10 potential landing areas, Site J had the honor of being selected as the first choice for the landing. The site afforded the best balance between limiting the risks to the lander during descent and maximizing the scientific output of the mission upon a successful landing.

Should heightened outgassing activity in the vicinity of Site J make the primary landing site undesirable, the robotic explorer has the option of falling back on its secondary landing area, site C. This landing zone, located on the larger section of the comet, was selected for its superior illumination and lack of surface protrusions.

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