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Sky No Longer The Limit: First Probe Ever Lands On Comet

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Making history. European scientists land a spacecraft on a moving comet.

Tracey Leong explains just how historic this moment is.

Cheering could be heard around the world after a decade-long mission succeeded. The Rosetta spaceship released the Philae lander, becoming the first probe to land on a comet.

Scientists in Germany are celebrating the final stretch of a 4 billion mile journey. The European Space Agency has been chasing the comet since the Rosetta launched in 2004, using the gravity of Earth and Mars as a slingshot to catch up to the comet, traveling nearly 84,000 miles an hour.

Philae will be capturing the first images from a comet's surface and collecting data to explain how the solar system began.

"It's one of the most memorable moments in my scientific career," said Roald Sagdeev, University of Maryland professor of physics.

Sagdeev believes these historical achievements will re-energize the next generation of scientists.

"It will help them to figure out what they are going to do, something which would be able to compete with today's event," Sagdeev said.

Showing everyone that the sky is no longer the limit.

"It restored my faith in what people can do," said Daniel Silverstein, University of Maryland student.

"I've always wanted to go into space and looking at stuff, so I guess that just further proves that I'm on the right path," University of Maryland student Merideth Reiser said.

Philae could be on the comet for two days or several months, depending on its battery life. Either way, it will be sending back vital information for the next generation.

Late Wednesday evening, scientists said they're not sure if the lander is still firmly on the comet. They're still receiving data and they don't expect to know more until Thursday.

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