The space probe Rosetta on Wednesday made a historic rendezvous with a comet, climaxing a 10-year, six billion-kilometre chase through the Solar System, the European Space Agency (ESA) said.
"We're at the comet," declared Rosetta's flight operations manager, Sylvain Lodiot.
It is the first time that a spacecraft has ever gone into orbit around a comet, a wanderer of the Solar System whose primeval dust and ice could hold insights into how the planets formed. In November, a robot scientific lab called Philae will be sent down to the surface to make the first-ever landing on a comet.
Launched ten years ago, the ESA's Rosetta spacecraft has reached comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on Wednesday and is manoeuvring to go into orbit around the comet's core.
After the Rosetta goes into orbit, it will follow the comet around the sun, observing its activity, before dropping a lander onto the comet's surface in November 2014.