(Vatican Radio) In a historic first for space exploration, the European Space Agency said on Thursday that a probe that landed on a comet has ended up in the shadow of a cliff, about a kilometre from its intended resting place but is stable.
The probe called Philae, was released from its mothership Rosetta on Wednesday in the climax of a 10-year mission for the ESA.
The ESA has published pictures of the comet and images of the robot probe and said it was operating normally.
Listen to Lydia O'Kane speaking to Brother Guy Consolmagno from the Vatican Observatory
Speaking to Vatican Radio about the operation the President of the Vatican Observatory Foundation, Brother Guy Consolmagno SJ said, it could be very significant depending on the amount of the experiments scientists will be able to do. “Potentially it could be very exciting because this is the first time we will be able to sample organic material that could be very primitive but also could be very complicated because it’s been irradiated by the sun for 4 billion years”
Brother Guy goes on to say that “it will probably take a couple of years for they’re (scientists) are really confident in the information they’ve got”.
Scientists hope that samples taken from the comet by Philae will reveal information about how the planets evolved.