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Space probe Philae makes history, lands on comet

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Posted at 11:23 AM, Nov 12, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-12 11:28:47-05

The Philae probe has landed on the surface of a comet, a historic first.

Scientists from the European Space Agency announced the news Wednesday. A manmade craft has never before landed on a comet. 

Philae separated from Rosetta, its mother ship, at 3:30 a.m. EST and began its descent to the comet.

The ESA is leading the Rosetta project, along with a group of contributors including NASA.

The agency says it received a signal from the 220-pound  lander after it touched down on the icy surface of the comet named 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
  
Flight director Andrea Accomazzo told The Associated Press "we definitely confirm that the lander is on the surface."

Philae had been attached to Rosetta for ten years as it circulated the solar system, and cannot be steered.

Once the probe was released, it was on its own. The descent to the comet took about seven hours.

Scientists hope the probe will teach them about the composition of comets and how they react close to the sun. 

Information from the Associated Press and CNN was used in this report.