London: European Space Agency (ESA) has given its conformation to the Rosetta spacecraft mission to deliver its lander, Philae, on the primary site of the target comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
Philae's landing site, currently known as Site J and located on the smaller of the comet's two 'lobes', was confirmed on 14 October following a comprehensive readiness review and the lander would be delivered on 12 November, in the first-ever attempt at a soft touchdown on a comet.
Rosetta has been moving closer to the comet; starting at 100 km on 6 August, it is now just 10 km from the centre of the 4 km-wide body. This allowed a more detailed look at the primary and backup landing sites in order to complete a hazard assessment, including a detailed boulder census.
The decision that the mission is 'Go' for Site J also confirms the timeline of events leading up to the landing.
After the release of Philae, Rosetta would manoeuvre up and away from the comet, before reorienting itself in order to establish communications with Philae. During the seven-hour descent, it would take images and conduct science experiments, sampling the dust, gas and plasma environment close to the comet.