Hear the sound of the first comet landing

It's one of the most historic thuds heard in recent years. At only two seconds long, it offers a lot more data for scientists to unpack than you might think.

Philae had its mic on for touchdown. ESA

Open up that junk drawer in your house and rustle through it for a second. That rustling, clunking sound is pretty close to what it sounds like to land on a comet 300 million miles from Earth.

When the Philae lander touched the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko for the first time last week, the Cometary Acoustic Surface Sounding Experiment (CASSE) sensors located on the bottom of its three legs picked up the short thud (you can hear it by playing the embed below).

It may not sound like much, but there's a lot in the two-second recording (embedded below) for scientists to digest.

"The Philae lander came into contact with a soft layer several centimetres thick. Then, just milliseconds later, the feet encountered a hard, perhaps icy layer on 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko," explains researcher Klaus Seidensticker, of Germany's space agency (DLR), in a blog post.

The recording also confirms that Philae touched the comet, its anchoring harpoons failed to fire and the lander then floated back out to space, beginning its first long "bounce." Philae landed a total of three times on the comet, finally coming to rest on the third contact.

Makes me wonder what these scientists could learn about me from a two-second recording of my junk drawer.

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