Wig related because the comet looks like shit Rosetta team picks landing site on comet and prepares for touchdown The European Space Agency's mission to land on a comet is just weeks away from touchdown By Sarah Knapton, Science Editor 6:29PM BST 15 Oct 2014 Comment Scientists attempting to land on a comet have chosen a site and are preparing for touchdown. The European Space Agency has announced that the Rosetta mission will attempt to set down its ‘Philae’ lander on 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on November 12. Last month, mission planners said they had found the perfect location on the head of the rubber-duck shaped mass of rock and ice. Philae's landing site, currently known as ‘Site J’ is located on the smaller of the comet's two 'lobes.’ Rosetta has been moving closer to the comet since it was woken from deep-space hibernation in January. It is now just 10km. It has been conducting an unprecedented survey and scientific analysis of the surface and atmosphere. The landing probe will release at 8.35am on November 12 and it will take seven hours to reach the surface. Landing is expected around 3.30pm. Confirmation of the touchdown is expected at around 4pm to allow time for the signal to reach Earth. "Now that we know where we are definitely aiming for, we are an important step closer to carrying out this exciting - but high-risk - operation," says Fred Jansen, ESA's Rosetta mission manager. "However, there are still a number of key milestones to complete before we can give the final Go for landing." There are still a number of critical manoeuvres that Rosetta must make before it releases the lander and the mission could still be aborted if the ships is not in the exact location. After the release of Philae, Rosetta will manoeuvre up and away from the comet, before reorienting itself in order to establish communications with the probe. A close-up of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko During the seven-hour descent, Philae will take images and conduct science experiments, sampling the dust, gas and plasma environment close to the comet. It will take a 'farewell' image of the Rosetta orbiter shortly after separation, along with a number of images as it approaches the comet surface. It is expected that the first images from this sequence will be received on Earth several hours after separation. Once safely on the surface, Philae will take a panorama of its surroundings. Again, this is expected back on Earth several hours later. The first sequence of surface science experiments will begin about an hour after touchdown and will last for 64 hours, constrained by the lander's primary battery lifetime. The comet is currently hurtling through space at 24,600 miles per hour and its nucleus is only 2.5 miles wide. The comet Scientists compare the task to a fly trying to land on a speeding bullet. It is the stuff of science fiction, but it’s - hopefully - about to become science fact. Comets are the primitive building blocks of the Solar System, left over from a planet-building time when our Sun was just a disc of spinning disc of dust and gas. Made of ice, dust and small rocky particles, it is likely they delivered the first water to Earth and may have even seeded the planet with the building blocks for life. Cometary dust brought back to Earth by NASA’s stardust mission contained glycine, an amino acid that is a basic part of our DNA. Rosetta has already been travelling for more than a decade after the craft was launched on March 2 2004, from Kourou, French Guiana. But the comet is moving far faster than speeds which could ever be achieved by a space ship leaving Earth. So the craft has spent the time since, using the gravitational pull of the Earth and Mars to act as a sling shot and allow it to pick up acceleration. When it reached the crucial speed in July 2011 the spacecraft was put into deep-space hibernation for the coldest, most distant leg of the journey as it travelled some 497 million miles from the Sun, close to the orbit of Jupiter as the comet headed into outer Solar System. The comet will reach its closest distance to the Sun on 13 August 2015 at about 115 million miles, roughly between the orbits of Earth and Mars. Even if the lander is still on the comet by then its instruments will have been rendered useless due to the heat of the Sun. The £1 billion project will see Rosetta follow the comet throughout the remainder of 2015, as it heads away from the Sun and activity begins to subside.