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ESA picks comet landing site
Posted: Tue, Sep 16, 2014, 8:29 AM ET (1229 GMT)
Rosetta spacecraft illustration (ESA) The European Space Agency announced Monday that it has selected a location on the surface of a comet where it will attempt to land a spacecraft in November. ESA said it has selected a location known as site "J" on the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko where it will land the Philae spacecraft. Philae is a lander that will be deployed from the Rosetta spacecraft, which arrived at the comet last month. Selecting a landing site for Philae proved to be particularly challenging given that the comet's nucleus has an unusual "rubber duckie" shape with two lobes and rough terrain. Site J is on the smaller, or "head," lobe of the comet, near what appears to be active surface features. The spacecraft's landing attempt is scheduled for November 11. ESA estimates a 70-75% chance of a successful landing.
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