Rosetta's lander set to target 'Site J' on comet for touchdown

Rosetta's lander Philae will target 'Site J' on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko for its landing, it has been reported.

ANI| Last Updated: Sep 16, 2014, 13:22 PM IST

London: Rosetta's lander Philae will target 'Site J' on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko for its landing, it has been reported.

Site J was on the "head" of the comet, an irregular shaped world that was just over 4 km across at its widest point. The decision to select Site J as the primary site was unanimous. The backup, Site C, was located on the "body" of the comet.

The 100 kg lander has planned to reach the surface on 11 November, where it would perform indepth measurements to characterise the nucleus in situ, in a totally unprecedented way.

Stephan Ulamec, Philae Lander Manager at the DLR German Aerospace Center, said that site J in particular would offer them the chance to analyse pristine material, characterise the properties of the nucleus, and study the processes that drive its activity.

It was mentioned that the landing must take place before mid-November, as the comet has been predicted to grow more active as it moves closer to the Sun.

Once deployed from Rosetta, Philae's descent would be autonomous, with commands having been prepared by the Lander Control Centre at DLR, and uploaded via Rosetta mission control before separation.

Once the lander touches down, at the equivalent of walking pace, it would use harpoons and ice screws to fix it onto the surface. It would then make a 360 degree panoramic image of the landing site to help determine where and in what orientation it has landed.