Class One Probe

In 2004 the European Space Agency launched the Rosetta orbiter, and accompanying Philae lander, on a study of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. After a ten year journey, in November of 2014, Philae detached from the Rosetta. Philae attempted a soft landing on the nucleus of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. The craft bounced off the comet, and the landing gear malfunctioned. The lander ended up in the shade, unable to receive power from its solar panels. However, Philae was able to record and transmit data for about a day before entering safe mode. This comic is based on photos taken of the comet by the lander.

In June of 2015, as comet 67P continued to approach the sun, Philae began to intermittently receive and transmit signals for about a month. The lander’s location was photographed by Rosetta as it orbited closer to Churyumov-Gerasimenko in September of 2016. The orbiter ended its mission that month when it crashed into the comet nucleus.


nucleus, n. I. 1. Astronomy. a. The more condensed portion of the head of a comet.

The brighter part of the comet is called the head, or coma, and sometimes the head contains a brighter portion still, called the nucleus.
— Joseph Norman Lockyer, 'Elementary lessons in astronomy' (1868)