The European Space Agency (ESA) landed a probe on a comet on Wednesday, a first in space exploration and the climax of a decade-long mission to get samples from what are the remnants of the birth of Earth's solar system. Pavithra George reports.
Smiles and celebrations at the European Space Agency. After a seven hour descent from the spacecraft Rosetta, the agency's Philae space probe had landed successfully on a comet. The landing marks a major triumph in a mission that took 10 years and traveled 6.4 billion km to arrive at the comet. The probe, seen here from Rosetta's narrow-angle camera, after separation, will now begin collecting samples from the surface of the comet, which scientists hope, will shed light on the solar system...and the origins of life. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ESA DIRECTOR THOMAS REITER SAYING: "It's a lot of new information about the origins of our solar system, of our own planet, the water which is on our planet -- does it come from such comets? Could it be that the origin of life has not evolved here on earth but was brought to earth via such comets? And I think that indeed justifies all this effort." And that effort is far from over. The probe may be the first ever to have landed on a comet, but it's work is only just beginning.