Spacecraft to attempt comet landing next month

AP News
Posted: Oct 15, 2014 11:20 AM
Spacecraft to attempt comet landing next month

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.