Close-ups of a curious surface texture on Comet 67P nicknamed "goosebumps," all of them at a scale of around 3 meters and spanning areas more than 100 meters. ESA/Rosetta/MPS hide caption

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Engineers at the European Space Agency fear that they won't be able to communicate with the Philae lander after Friday. Here, lander manager Stefan Ulamec (left, in foreground) watches as data confirming the comet landing arrived Wednesday. European Space Agency hide caption

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The Philae lander beamed back images showing one of its three feet on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko . This photo is compiled from two images; a wider version will be released later Thursday. ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA hide caption

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Europe's Rosetta spacecraft is about to send a lander to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. ESA/Rosetta/NavCam hide caption

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The Two-Way

Researchers To Attempt Robotic Landing On Comet's Surface

Putting a probe on a comet's surface would be a first for mankind. But it doesn't look like it will be easy.

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Closeup of Philae's primary landing Site J, which is located on the "head" of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. The image was taken by Rosetta's OSIRIS narrow-angle camera on Aug. 20. ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA hide caption

toggle caption ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

An illustration of what the Philae lander will look like at work on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. AOES Medialab/ESA hide caption

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