Call for media: Rosetta landing site announcement
4 September 2014
Members of the media are invited to ESA Headquarters in Paris, France, on 15 September for the announcement of the primary landing site for Rosetta’s lander Philae, where in November it will attempt the first soft touchdown in history on a comet.
Rosetta arrived at a distance of 100 km from Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko on 6 August, and since then mission scientists and engineers have been carefully studying possible landing sites for Philae.
Five candidate locations were announced on 25 August for further investigation, in order to determine possible orbital and operational strategies for Rosetta to despatch the lander to each of them.
At the same time, Rosetta has moved to within 50 km of the comet, allowing more detailed observations of the proposed sites.
By 14 September, the five candidate sites will have been assessed and ranked, leading to the selection of a primary landing site and a backup. The landing itself is currently scheduled for 11 November.
The final two sites, along with their operational challenges and scientific expectations, will be presented during the briefing.
Draft Programme (subject to change)
8–10 rue Mario Nikis
75738 Paris Cedex 15
10:30 Doors open
11:00 Fred Jansen, Rosetta mission manager, ESA
Landing: the next big step after wake-up and arrival
11:10 Stephan Ulamec, Philae lander manager, DLR
Presentation of primary and back-up landing sites and the respective descents
Holger Sierks, PI OSIRIS instrument, MPS Göttingen
Detailed images of the primary landing site
11:25 Jean-Pierre Bibring, Lead lander scientist, IAS Orsay
Scientific expectations regarding the primary landing site
11:35 Andrea Accomazzo, Rosetta flight director, ESA
Timeline and operational challenges of the landing
11:45 Fred Jansen, Rosetta mission manager, ESA
Next steps on the way to landing
11:55 Questions & Answers
Opportunity for individual interviews
12:30 End of programme
More about Rosetta
Rosetta is an ESA mission with contributions from its Member States and NASA. Rosetta’s Philae lander is provided by a consortium led by DLR, MPS, CNES and ASI. Rosetta will be the first mission in history to rendezvous with a comet, escort it as it orbits the Sun, and deploy a lander.
Comets are time capsules containing primitive material left over from the epoch when the Sun and its planets formed. By studying the gas, dust and structure of the nucleus and organic materials associated with the comet, via both remote and in situ observations, the Rosetta mission should become the key to unlocking the history and evolution of our Solar System, as well as answering questions regarding the origin of Earth’s water and perhaps even life.
For further information:
ESA Media Relations Office
Tel: + 33 1 53 69 72 99