The Rosetta spacecraft has been hurtling through space for over 10 years, chasing a comet called 67P or Churyumov-Gerasimenko – and its journey is almost over.
Today the European Space Agency probe attempts to land a smaller, washing machine-sized spacecraft called Philae onto 67P’s surface (an artist’s impression can be seen above). It’s the first time anyone has attempted to land a spacecraft on a comet.
The audacious mission will hopefully see the Philae make its landing hundreds of kilometres from earth, then riding the Mont Blanc-sized comet as it heads towards the sun.
Philae separated from the main Rosetta craft at around 8.30am, and has just re-established contact with main mission control. It is expected to land on the icy comet sometime between 4.00 and 5.00pm, barring accidents or delays.
You can watch the National Geographic livestream of the mission below or here, ahead of the channel’s documentary about the project which airs tonight (12th November) at 8.00pm and on Friday (14th November) at 8.00pm.
Rosetta: Comet Landing is on National Geographic tonight (Wednesday 12th November ) at 8.00pm