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European space scientists are poised to make one of the most important decisions of the Rosetta mission following the spacecraft's successful rendezvous yesterday with the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko more than 250 million miles from Earth.

European space scientists are poised to make one of the most important decisions of the Rosetta mission following the spacecraft's successful rendezvous yesterday with the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko more than 250 million miles from Earth.

Over the coming weeks, the European Space Agency (ESA) will have to decide where to land its small robotic craft Philae, which Rosetta has carried on her 10-year journey to the fast-moving comet, nicknamed "rubber duck" because of its odd double-
lobed shape.

Philae is scheduled this November to make the first controlled descent on a comet but the success of the expedition relies heavily on finding a suitable landing spot on a comet that is the size of Mont Blanc.

Scientists hope to learn more about the origin of comets, which are believed to be remnants of the time when the Solar System was formed more than 4.5 billion years ago.

hnews@herald.ie


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