The landing "site must balance the technical needs of the orbiter and lander during all phases of the separation, descent, and landing," the
The spacecraft will launch Philae, a module weighing some 100 kilos (220 lbs.) that will land on the surface of the comet when it is still 450 million kilometers (280 million miles) from the Sun, before activity on the comet "reaches levels that might jeopardise the safe and accurate deployment of Philae to the comet's surface."
The place must also be ideally suited for "operations on the surface with the scientific requirements of the 10 instruments on board Philae," ESA experts said.
For each possible landing site, factors must be analyzed such as whether the landing module will be capable of maintaining contact with
The scientists controlling Philae from Toulouse must ensure that there is "sufficient illumination for scientific operations and enough sunlight to recharge the lander's batteries beyond its initial 64-hour lifetime."
In order to take the final decision, data must be analyzed that has been collected by the space probe from between 100 and 20 kilometers (between 62 and 12 miles) from the comet in the form of "high-resolution images of the surface, measurements of the comet's surface temperature, and the pressure and density of gas around the nucleus."
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