Science Center keeping track of probe that landed on Comet

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – A lander landing on a comet is cause for celebration.

'This is huge,' says Eric Gustafson, a St. Louis Science Center Astronomer.

'This is a big deal?' asks Patrick Clark.

'This is a very big deal,' says Gustafson.

The European Space Agency made history with their Rosetta Stone spacecraft and its lander.

The phenom known as Phelae even tweeted about its new home.

'It is 67P and named after the two gentlemen that discovered it,' says Gustafson.

The St. Louis Science Center's planetarium is keeping an eye on the space drama as it unfolds.

This is the first time a soft landing on a comet has been achieved and now comes the chance to find out more about its composition.

'They're kind of the primordial left over stuff that this will give us a firsthand look at this material and how it changes as it approaches the sun,' says Gustafson.

Right now, 300-million miles from earth a washing machine-sized lander is on its new permanent home.

But hold on to your hats because the harpoons didn't fire and Phelae is believed to have bounced and landed twice.

'They contain the leftover stuff of what we all formed from,' says Gustafson describing the comet.  'That includes organic material, molecules that contain carbon and nitrogen and hydrogen and oxygen, the stuff that's important to the potential development of life.'

Scientists will have to wait before the lander the size of a washing machine can drill into the comet's surface.

Then the experts can compare and contrast water from our world and beyond.


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