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Philae lander released from Rosetta
Posted: Wed, Nov 12, 2014, 8:00 AM ET (1300 GMT)
Philae release from Rosetta (ESA) ESA's Philae lander spacecraft has separated from the Rosetta orbiter en route to a landing on the nucleus of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko later Wednesday. ESA received signals confirming that the small lander, weighing about 100 kilograms, separated from the larger Rosetta spacecraft at 4:03 am EST (0903 GMT); there is a 28-minute delay in the arrival of the signals given the spacecraft's distance from Earth. Philae will slowly descend towards the comet, with a landing planned shortly after 11:00 am EST (1600 GMT). Project managers went ahead with the landing despite a problem with a cold gas propulsion system on the lander designed to prevent any rebound upon landing on the nucleus, given the comet's weak gravity. The lander will have to rely on harpoons to secure itself on the comet's nucleus upon landing.
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