For the first time in the history of mankind, scientists are attempting to make physical contact with a comet. A 10-year project by the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft will culminate on Wednesday when scientists attempt to land a probe on a comet for the first time ever. The final stage of the mission — actually landing the probe on the comet — has been described as “seven hours of terror” by a scientist involved with the project, and that terror is about to begin.
The actual touchdown of the probe “Philae” on the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is scheduled to take place just before 11:oo a.m. EST / 8:00 a.m. PST on Wednesday, and the attempt is being streamed live, as are the events leading up to tomorrow’s landing.
Do you want to watch history being made (or agonizing heartbreak in the event the landing fails)? ESA is streaming the mission live from space, and the video is embedded below.
Here’s the full schedule of events, courtesy of The Verge:
- 2PM ET (November 11th): Livestream begins with a media update. Also the first of several go/no-go decision points.
- 7–8:30PM ET: Two more go/no-go decisions, as the crew confirms the lander is ready for separation.
- 1AM ET (November 12th): The fourth and final go/no-go decision point; a final preparation maneuver.
- 4:03AM ET: The scheduled lander separation.
- 7AM ET: Expected science update/first pictures.
- 9AM ET: Last preparations before landing.
- 11AM ET: Scheduled time for landing on the comet, plus or minus 15 minutes.