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European spacecraft lands on comet, with a bounce
European spacecraft lands on comet, with a bounce

A mobile laboratory the size of a washing machine made history Wednesday when it completed a slow-motion descent to the surface of a comet 311 million miles from Earth. But scientists fear it didn't stick the landing. The European Space Agency's Philae spacecraft initially landed close to its target site on the comet and beamed back its position to the Rosetta orbiter. ESA engineers headquartered in Darmstadt, Germany, received the first signal that the lander had made it to the surface after a long and agonizing wait. Scientists had slammed spacecraft into comets before, but had never gently landed on one. The ESA team conceived the risky Rosetta mission in the late 1980s to...

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