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Rosetta Mission Lands On Rubber Ducky Comet [Update]


Update 9, 2:35 p.m.

A press briefing reviews what scientists currently know about Philae's condition:

It landed, and it landed in the right place.

The lander has power onboard, and it has been communicating with ESA mission control via radio waves.

The scientific instruments are working, and they're already sending back data, which scientists need more time to analyze.

Philae's harpoons did not fire, "so the lander is not anchored to the surface," said Stephan Ulamec during today's press briefing. ESA isn't sure exactly what the situation is on Comet 67P. "Did we just land in a soft sandbox and everything is fine although we are not anchored ... or is there something else happening?"

Fluctuations in the radio waves emitted by the lander could indicate that the lander bounced when it touched down. "So maybe today we didn't land once, we landed TWICE!" Ulamec joked.

Because of the orientation of the comet and the spacecraft, ESA won't be receiving more data from Philae for several hours. The next updates will come tomorrow at 11:00a.m.

Update 8, 1:29 p.m.

BusinessInsider is reporting that at least some of the screws on Philae's feet have dug into the soft surface of the comet.

ESA is about to begin a media briefing on the live webcast. Check back here for more updates!

Update 7, 12:58 p.m.

Here's what Philae saw on its approach, from about two miles above the comet's surface. The lander appears to have been right on target.

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