Google animates a Doodle to celebrate Philae’s triumph for the Rosetta mission

12 Nov 2014

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Rosetta's OSIRIS narrow-angle camera captured this parting shot of the Philae lander after separation. Photo via ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

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Quick off the mark to capture a milestone day in space exploration, Google has launched a Doodle illustrating the first controlled touchdown on a comet nucleus.

Mere hours have passed since the Philae lander touched down on the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko and beamed back a signal of success to the European Space Agency (ESA).

“Our ambitious Rosetta mission has secured a place in the history books: not only is it the first to rendezvous with and orbit a comet, but it is now also the first to deliver a lander to a comet’s surface,” said ESA director-general Jean-Jacques Dordain.

You can still see the celebrations unfold on Twitter following this pivotal moment in the more-than-a-decade-long Rosetta mission, and Google has joined in the celebrations with a tribute to the ESA’s triumph on its search homepage.

Clearly, the Doodlers were confident of the Rosetta probe fulfilling its duty and, perhaps, were waiting in the wings to press go on the Philae animation, which comes with suitable Star Trek-style font.

Now, the mission continues as Philae begins to collect data on the comet’s physical composition.

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Elaine Burke is managing editor of Siliconrepublic.com

editorial@siliconrepublic.com