It’s one of the most historic thuds heard in recent years. At only two seconds long, it offers a lot more data for scientists to unpack than you might think. First recording of the Philae Lander touching down on the comet.
When the Philae lander touched the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko for the first time last week, the Cometary Acoustic Surface Sounding Experiment (CASSE) sensors located on the bottom of its three legs picked up the short thud (you can hear it by playing the embed Video below).
It may not sound like much, but there’s a lot in the two-second recording (embedded Video below) for scientists to digest.
“The Philae lander came into contact with a soft layer several centimetres thick. Then, just milliseconds later, the feet encountered a hard, perhaps icy layer on 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko,” explains researcher Klaus Seidensticker, of Germany’s space agency (DLR), in a blog post.
The recording also confirms that Philae touched the comet, its anchoring harpoons failed to fire and the lander then floated back out to space, beginning its first long “bounce.” Philae landed a total of three times on the comet, finally coming to rest on the third contact.
Play to the Video to Hear the Historic First Landing on Comet P67!