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See first photo from probe that landed on Comet 67P

After travelling 4 billion miles, the European Space Agency's lander has touched down on a comet and is taking pictures.


What's the first thing you do when you arrive in a new place? Take a selfie, of course. Above is the first picture beamed back from the Philae probe showing that it's safely arrived on the surface of Comet 67P.

The dishwasher-sized Philae probe successfully landed on the comet yesterday, although it was touch and go at one point: Philae is reported to have bounced a couple of hundred metres on its first landing.

The European Space Agency's Philae lander detached from the Rosetta spacecraft around 1 a.m. PT on Wednesday morning and successfully touched down on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko seven hours later. Cheers rang out in the mission control centre in Darmstadt, Germany, as the confirmation signal completed its 28-minute journey back from the speeding comet.

Although the lander is stable and transmitting from the comet's surface, it isn't anchored as planned: harpoons that were intended to fire into the comet's surface failed to fire. Engineers are concerned that firing harpoons or attempting to drill into the surface now it's landed could throw the lander off the surface.

For now the lander is stable, and if all goes well, it will spend several months on the comet where 10 instruments will gather data that will be used to explore the origins of the universe.