Chesterfield hails scientists in its twin city after historic Philae comet landing

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Scientists in Chesterfield’s twin city have been hailed for landing a spacecraft on a moving comet.

The European Space Agency (ESA), which is based in Darmstadt, Germany, made history last Wednesday when its tiny Philae probe touched down on the celestial object.

Chesterfield has been twinned with Darmstadt since 1959.

Councillor Graham King, Chesterfield Borough Council’s executive member for governance and organisational development, whose area of responsibility includes twinning links, said: “We are sending a letter of congratulations to the mayor of Darmstadt to mark their city’s role in this historic mission.

“The ESA plays a key part in the city’s life so I know all the locals in Darmstadt will be very excited about what has been achieved and pleased that the many years of hard work carried out at their control centre has paid off.”

The little Philae spacecraft was released from its Rosetta mothership before landing on Comet 67P, 300 million miles up in space.

It took the crafts ten years to reach their destination following an epic journey across four billion miles of space.

On Saturday, Philae lost its battery power and went into hibernation mode after retrieving a treasure-trove of data from the rubber-duck shaped comet, including pictures and surface samples.

The revolutionary mission – which is designed to provide fresh insights on the origins of the Solar System – cost £1.03billion.

Whatever happens to Philae, Rosetta will continue to make its remote observations of Comet 67P.