Paris - 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.
The ESA said will spend about two years travelling alongside comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and closely observe the comet. If all goes according to plan the probe will also drop a small landing craft onto the comet's icy surface in November.
Scientists hope the mission will reveal more about the origins of comets and other celestial bodies.
This YouTube video shows how the landing will happen: