Philae Lander Celebrates First Full Day on Comet

Check out the first panorama photo taken on comet.

November 13, 2014, 1:43 PM

— -- It's an image billions of years in the making.

One day after the Philae lander made a historic touch down on a speeding comet, the first close-up images are being marveled at on Earth.

The European Space Agency released the first panoramic image from the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov Gerasimenko. The photo shows a stunning 360-degree view of the comet's rocky surface, along with three legs of the landing gear.

Philae landed on the comet after a decade-long, 4 billion-mile journey through space aboard its mothership, Rosetta.

The landing did not go off without a hitch, though.

Harpoons to anchor the lander did not fire into the comet's surface, as had been planned. The first analysis of the landing data shows the lander may have bounced twice before settling on the comet's surface, the ESA said. It remains unanchored.

Earlier today, the lander tweeted a photo showing its new address.

"Now that I’m safely on the ground, here is what my new home #67P looks like from where I am," a post on the Philae Lander’s Twitter account said.

Now that I’m safely on the ground, here is what my new home #67P looks like from where I am. #CometLanding

— Philae Lander (@Philae2014) November 13, 2014

Philae and Rosetta will analyze the comet over the coming months, with scientists hopeful that the project will offer understanding of comets and other celestial objects -- and answer questions about the origins of life on Earth.

Back in November 1993, the ESA approved the idea of landing a spacecraft on a speeding comet. Fast forward to March 2, 2004 when Rosetta launched from an Ariane 5 G+ rocket, beginning a decade long journey to the comet.

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