The Philae lander has just touched down on comet 67P, the first ever for us wee humans, after having spent 10 years attached to Rosetta for a four billion mile trip. This is a really exciting engineering marvel, people! [embed]https://twitter.com/ESA_Rosetta/status/532565327721545728[/embed]
Scientists are hoping the probe will help us learn a lot more about the composition of comets and how they react when they get close to the Sun.
According to details on ESA's Rosetta website, sensors on the lander will measure the density and thermal properties of the surface, gas analyzers will help to detect and identify any complex organic chemicals that might be present, while other tests will measure the magnetic field and interaction between the comet and solar wind -- high-energy particles given off by the Sun.
And science fiction writer Alastair Reynolds added: "This is science fiction made real in terms of the achievement of the mission itself, but Rosetta is also taking us a step closer to answering science fiction's grandest question of all -- are we alone?"
And here's Bill Nye talking with CNN about the importance of the Philae landing: http://www.cnn.com/video/data/2.0/video/tech/2014/11/12/newday-intv-bill-nye-comet-landing.cnn.html
Be sure to follow all the fun through the central Rosetta mission page. You'll also be able to find lots of activity surrounding the Philae landing on twitter at the following: