ERIK VIKTOR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ERIK VIKTOR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Philae probe. Computer artwork of the Philae probe landing on the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov- Gerasimenko. The probe will be part of the Rosetta mission of the European Space Agency (ESA), scheduled to launch in February 2004. The mission aims to rendezvous with the comet in 2018. Philae will perform measurements on the chemical and physical characteristics of the comet's nucleus, which is composed of material from the early history of the Solar System. The Rosetta spacecraft (top right corner) will orbit the comet, relaying results from Philae's investigation to Earth. The Sun (yellow, upper right) is also seen.
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