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Philae Probe Sends Back First Photo From Surface of Comet

Rosetta’s lander Philae is safely on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, as these first two CIVA images confirm. One of the lander’s three feet can be seen in the foreground.
Rosetta's lander Philae sent back its first image from the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. One of the lander's three feet can be seen in the foreground. ESA/Rosetta/Philae/CIVA

DARMSTADT, Germany — The European Space Agency's Philae lander sent back its first image Thursday after safely landing on the surface of a comet, marking the high point of a $1.3 billion, 10-year mission. One of the lander's three feet can be seen at lower left in the picture above.

Mark McCaughrean, a scientific expert at the ESA, told NBC News that researchers were still analyzing the photo, but that it appeared to have been taken at a slight angle to the horizon of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. They hope to release a panoramic image later Thursday.

— Andy Eckardt