On November 12, the European Space Agency will attempt something that's never been done - make a soft landing on a comet. Find out how NASA is assisting.


On Nov 12th, at 7:35 Pacific time a lander will land on a comet

This is one of the hardest things than has ever ben done by the human species .

So NASA's role in the mission is sort of as the junior partner.

The spacecraft was built by the European Space Agency. NASA contributed three instruments.

Along with backup support with what we call the telemetry -- How we are going to track it; navigation.

American instruments will operate on board the mother ship. And the mother ship is really the main part of the mission. It will follow the comet all the way around the sun. We'll learn amazing amount of information about a comet.

Comets are like little refrigerators, they were far away from the sun and they froze all these early particles.

They were frozen, solid remnants from the forming solar system.

Most the scientists agree that the water, most of the water on Earth came from comets.

So you showered in a comet this morning

It's extremely difficult to land on a comet. This is an absolute first for humanity. The comet is moving about 35,000 miles an hour, unbelievably difficult terrain, there are about 58 boulders on the site where it lands. There are jets shooting out of the comet. A very difficult situation.

We kind of describe the situation as the lander being a cherry on top of the cake.

We've been waiting for this for more than 10 years. I mean 20 years, and it's hard to really think that it's really going to happen.

View all Videos