Philae landing site selected
The target region of Rosetta’s lander Philae has been selected: the site offers a unique scientific potential with hints of activity nearby, minimum risks to the lander and good conditions to exploit energy resources. Landing is scheduled for November 11.
European engineers and scientists of the Landing Site Selection Group have selected the site on September 15. Jean-Pierre Bibring of IAS, a lead lander scientist and principal investigator of the CIVA instrument, participated to these discussions.
Philae will make at this site the first ever in situ analysis of a comet, giving us an unparalleled insight into the composition, structure and evolution of a comet. The selected site in particular offers us the chance to analyze pristine material, characterize the properties of the nucleus, and study the processes that drive its activity. Engineering requirements are also met: the site is safe with a low rock density, battery use is optimized with a travel time to the comet limited to seven hours, and good illumination conditions for solar panels are guaranteed.