It is one landmark that would be remembered for a long time to come in the field of science. The landmark, which was recorded on Wednesday, November 12, 2014 saw the Philae, a mechanical space traveller landing on a targeted Comet identified as a 4-billion-year-old world of dust and ice that holds secrets to the origins of the solar system.
The spacecraft, launched on March 2, 2004 by the European Space Agency, ESA was on a mission to carry out a detailed study of the Comet 67P (Churyumov-Gerasimenko), which is located some 310 million miles away from Earth.
The orbiter and lander module Philae together with the Rosetta robotic space probe happened to be the first spacecraft to make soft controlled landing in history at the end of a mission that lasted for ten years.
Speculation about the environment, habitability potentials in distant planets had often times driven astronomers to embark on different missions. With the invention and development of the telescope during the 1600s, Scientists inspired by the detailed views of the planet from Earth had attempted exploring the planet Mars over hundreds of years.
Unfortunately, the complicated nature of interplanetary journeys, especially in earlier attempts led to the failure of about two-thirds of all spacecraft sent to Mars.
Other missions however have recorded significant levels of success, such as the twin Mars Exploration Rovers operating for years beyond their original mission specifications.
The Soviet Union initiated human conquest of space as it sent the first piloted spacecraft into the orbit in 1961. This led to the development of numerous generations of transport ships and orbital stations in the country. Russia had also made history with its early manned space flight pioneering projects named the Vostok and Voskhod missions dated 1946 to 1966.
Before Philae made its historic landing there have been a number of spacecrafts that have only made flyby missions while others that attempted to land on Comets ended crashing into them. The first was a spacecraft named ICE (ISEE-3) launched on August 12, 1978 on a flyby mission to Comet 21P (Giacobini-Zinner). It traveled 4,885 miles and made a distant observation of 1P (Halley comet).
Subsequent spacecrafts were then sent on flyby missions to the Halley comet that have been sighted. These included the Vega 1 launched on December 15, 1984, the Vega 2 launched on December 21, 1984, which flew past Halley after visiting the Venus on March 6 1986. Others are Sakigake launched on January 7, 1985, Giotto launched on July 2, 1985 and Suisei launched on August 19, 1985, The Stardust also completed a flyby visit to the comet Wild and Tempel, and the Deep Impact launched on January 12 2005 and others.
Some spacecrafts however were not successful. They include the Contour destined for different missions on July 3, 2002 and the Deep Space launched on different missions to the 107P and 81P on October 24, 1998.
Follow Us on Social Media