ESA has selected five potential sites on the comet Churyumova-Gerasimenko for the landing of the Philae / Rosetta probe

    Perhaps this is how the landing of the

    November probe will look closer and closer, which means that the date of the Philae probe’s landing on the surface of comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko is getting closer and closer. We all look forward to this moment, but wait a short time, especially since the ESA (European Space Agency) is actively working on choosing the location of the probe.

    Here the error is simply unacceptable, any, the smallest, error threatens with the failure of the entire mission. Of course, the Rosetta station itself has already received a huge amount of comet data (these data are laid out by the agency a month or two after receipt), but the greatest hope lies with the Philae probe.

    It is the probe that will be able to clarify the composition of the substance of the comet, providing scientists with another portion of interesting information that, as many hope, will clarify the process of formation of comets and the formation conditions of our solar system.

    So, now five potential landing sites have been selected. When choosing, scientists were guided by the following criteria:
    • the availability of sunlight, 6 hours a day or more;
    • reliable communication with the device;
    • no danger of overheating of the device;
    • landing safety.

    There are other criteria, but these are the main ones.

    A total of five “candidates” were identified:

    Site A. This site is located on the larger “hemisphere” of the comet. A better shot is required for a detailed assessment of the site. In this image, small parts, funnels and bulges may not be visible.

    Site B is located in a crater-like structure on the smaller “hemisphere” of the comet. Everything is fine here, but scientists have not fully clarified the situation with the coverage of this site in the long term. Need a photo in the best resolution. Among other things, boulders that are dangerous are visible.

    Site C is located on the larger hemisphere. The surface is not very flat, there are funnels, and bulges and other elements. Again, a better image is required.

    Site I is relatively flat, located on the smaller “hemisphere”. As in previous cases, you need a better photo. It is unclear how the illumination of the site will change over time.

    Site J. This site is similar to the previous one. The problems are the same as in the previous case.

    Now scientists are actively working on the assessment of each of the sites, and are trying to choose the most convenient and safe place for landing the probe. By the way, soon the Rosetta station should approach the comet at a distance of 50 kilometers (now about 100), so scientists hope to get even more detailed photographs of potential sites.

    By September 14, Rosetta will be even closer to the body of the comet - at a distance of only 20-30 kilometers, so that the image of the comet will be even better. Scientists will be able to choose the main and spare sites.

    The estimated date of the probe’s landing is November 11, and site selection should be completed by October 12. Of course, all this work is very complicated, you need to consider a whole range of third-party factors. But scientists are ready for this.

    Via esa

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