UK Space Agency celebrates historic comet landing

The UK Space Agency and UK scientists are celebrating the landmark touchdown of Rosetta’s Philae lander — the first ever landing on a comet yesterday. 

By Sarah.Aston

13 Nov 2014

The Philae lander touched down on comet 67P at approximately 16:03 GMT, marking a “momentous day” for the UK Space Agency and UK scientists involved in the project.

Sue Horne, head of exploration at the UK Space Agency said: "Rosetta is an incredible journey, which started over 20 years ago, not just for the spacecraft but for the people involved.

“The UK Space Agency worked closely with the instrument team to ensure the funding was in place, the project was delivered to time and budget, and the technology developed has now been applied to solve problems on Earth. This includes the development of a system for continuous monitoring of air quality on submarines and an instrument for detecting stomach cancer by breath analysis."

The Rosetta mission, launched in 2004 by the European Space Agency, is an intergovernmental project set up to analyse comet 67P and collect data as part of Europe’s exploration of the Solar System.

Universities, science and cities minister Greg Clark said: “We cannot underestimate just how much of a challenge and technical feat this has been to achieve.

“UK scientists, engineers and industry have played a central role it its success and will inspire a generation of children to become involved in science.” 

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