The Little Robot That Landed on a Comet


With all the celebrity craziness going on, there’s one amazing thing recently that you may have missed: The European Space Agency’s robot probe, Philae, landed on a comet!

Why is this so interesting? This little robot has been traveling for 10 years to get to its destination. It’s 6.4 billion km (4 billion mi) journey started in 2004, when it was launched from the ESA’s Rosetta satellite. It landed on Wednesday, when things like Kim Kardashian’s #BreakTheInternet photos hit the media. We can actually say that Kim K’s butt eclipsed the news about mankind’s scientific milestone.


These photos were taken on the comet. What are looking at is the surface of a comet!

It took 7 hours for Philae to drop to the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko’s icy surface. Comets have some very hostile and wild landscapes, and unfortunately, Philae landed about 1 km away from where it was supposed to land. This is a problem because now, it’s nestled in the shadow of a cliff. Its battery is solar powered.

Philae actually took a serious bounce when it landed — a 1 km bounce to be exact. That’s why it didn’t end up where it should have. Scientists are also saying that it might have also landed on its side, but at least we can still get pictures from it. The aliens are most likely laughing at us right now.


Regardless of its unfortunate landing and inability to charge its battery, Philae is doing its job be sending scientists information and pictures from the surface of the comet. A drill was used to go into the surface of the comet, which gave a reading of the chemical makeup of the frozen rock flying through space. On Friday, Philae was able to drill 10 inches into the surface of the comet.

As of Saturday afternoon, due to insufficient battery power, it was reported that Philae lost power. There were efforts made to get the comet in position so that it could get enough light from the sun to power itself. Rosetta and Philae’s mission isn’t over yet, as it plans to stick with the comet for 13 more months.