After Rosetta's 10-year journey -- capped off with the smooth 7-hour descent of its Philae lander -- an explosion of elation went up in the European Space Agency's mission control center in Darmstadt, Germany. At around 11:04AM Eastern Time, humanity has, for the first time in history, carefully coaxed an extension of itself onto the surface of a comet. The first few moments after landing turned tense as the ESA team worked to determine if everything worked, but Philae Lander Manager Stephan Ullamec broke the strained silence.
"The harpoons have been fired and the landing gear has been moved inside. We're on the surface. Philae is talking to us, more data to come," he said. Spacecraft operations manager Andrea Accomazzo (whom the internet started calling "ESA Hoodie Guy") couldn't quite help himself.
"We can't be happier than we are now," he yelped.
Update: ESA just released the first image from Rosetta on the surface of the comet (above) with one of its three feet visible in the foreground. The full panorama will be available at 2PM ET.