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article imageNASA announces live coverage of European comet landing

By Robert Myles     Nov 7, 2014 in Science
Pasadena - NASA television will provide live coverage of the European Space Agency’s comet lander mission scheduled to touchdown on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on Wednesday, Nov.12.
The ESA’s Philae lander spacecraft is due to make comet-fall in a region of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko now known as “Agilkia”. Mission scientists have dubbed the comet itself, “Chury,” for short.
Comets have always held a fascination both among astronomers and others Earth-bound lucky enough to have witnessed one. They’re often seen as the primitive building blocks of the solar system and are literally frozen in time. Possibly, comets played a role in “seeding” Earth with water, the essential component for life to exist while some scientists theorize comets also provided the basic ingredients that were the catalysts for life on Earth to come into being.
The historic event will be covered by NASA Television with the agency’s website providing live coverage from 6 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. PST (9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. EST) next Wednesday of the long anticipated ESA’s Rosetta mission’s landing of a probe on the comet.
NASA said their live commentary will include excerpts of the ESA coverage and air from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. PST (9-10 a.m. EST), with NASA continuing to carry ESA’s commentary from 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. PST (10-11:30 a.m. EST).
The ESA’s Philae lander is scheduled to touch down on “Chury” at 7:35 a.m. PST (10:35 a.m. EST). NASA said a signal confirming landing is expected at approximately 8:02 a.m. PST (11:02 a.m. EST).
Once safely on the comet, Philae will obtain humankind’s first ever images taken from the surface of a comet. Philae will then set to work drilling into the surface of “Chury” to study the comet’s composition as well as observing how changes undergone by the comet as its exposure to sunlight varies.
Philae's mission, comet-side, is relatively short with the ESA projecting that it can remain active on Chury’s surface for approximately two-and-a-half days.
Philae’s “parent,” the Rosetta spacecraft that’s about to deliver its baby to Chury will stay in orbit around the comet through 2015. Rosetta’s continuing mission will be to study the comet both on its approach to the Sun then as the comet gains distance away from the Sun heading back out into the Solar System.
NASA's streaming live coverage of the comet landing can be found on NASA TV. Live coverage will also be available through Ustream.
The ESA will also be live-streaming the Philae comet landing.
More about rosetta mission, Esa, ESA News, Comet, comet landing mission
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