The European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft and its lander Philae has reached the comet “67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko” (C-G). The Philae lander will be the first spacecraft to soft-land a robot on a comet! Rosetta will also be the first spacecraft to accompany a comet as it enters our inner solar system, observing at close range how the comet changes as the Sun’s heat transforms it into the luminous apparition that has frightened and inspired people for centuries.
The Rosetta spacecraft is named after the ancient Rosetta Stone. The Philae lander is named after the Philae Obelisk which, together with the Rosetta Stone, provided the key to our first understanding of Egyptian hieroglyphs.