Encyclopedia of Astrobiology

Living Edition
| Editors: Muriel Gargaud, William M. Irvine, Ricardo Amils, Henderson James Cleaves, Daniele Pinti, José Cernicharo Quintanilla, Michel Viso

Philae Lander

  • Hervé CottinEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27833-4_1745-4


Philae is the lander of the ESA Rosetta mission which successfully landed on the nucleus of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on November 12, 2014.


Philae is the first automated vehicle that successfully landed on the nucleus of a comet. It is part of the European mission ROSETTA. Its overall mass is 98 kg including a scientific payload of 27 kg. The name of the lander follows the name of a Nile island where an obelisk was found, whose association with the Rosetta stone helped Champollion to understand the meaning of hieroglyphs.

On November 12, 2014, the Philae lander was released from its mother spacecraft at a distance of about 3 AU from the Sun and 20 km from the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko to land after 7 h of free fall. The landing site (called Agilkia) was meant to be a relatively smooth terrain on the smaller lobe of comet 67P. Contact with the nucleus was reported at 15:34 UTC, but it turned out that the lander did not anchor at the surface and...


Lander Rosetta Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratoire Interuniversitaire des Systèmes AtmosphériquesUniversité Paris Est-CréteilCréteil CedexFrance