Europe

Comet probe landing: Europe's press excited

European newspaper front pages Image copyright Other
Image caption News of Wednesday's landing has received plenty of front-page coverage across Europe

The landing of a European Space Agency's (Esa) probe on a comet is being celebrated by newspapers across Europe.

Pictures of the probe Philae and the Comet 67P Churyumov-Gerasimenko - affectionately shortened to "Churi" by many papers - are a prominent feature of the mainly front-page coverage.

'Bumpy'

In Germany, which hosts the Rosetta Mission control at Darmstadt, many national dailies feature the story.

Die Welt sports an image of the Philae probe, with just "Landed!" next to it.

The country's biggest tabloid, Bild, highlights Philae's "bumpy landing", but adds that it now appears "stable".

"Comet, we're here!" Munich tabloid TZ exclaims excitedly. Another Bavarian paper, the Augsburger Allgemeine, takes a "europatriotic" view, hailing the landing as "Europe's success" on its front page.

A commentary in the Tageszeitung says Philae's arrival "marks the biggest coup in the history of Esa".

"The Russians had Yuri Gagarin as the first human in space, the Americans Neil Armstrong on the moon, and the Europeans have Philae," it adds triumphantly.

'Small leap for a robot'

Italian papers stress their country's scientific contribution to the mission.

"Europe's probe lands on the comet and excites the world," says Corriere della Sera. "In this endeavour, which fulfils the dreams of science fiction novels and films, the contribution of Italian science was essential," it adds.

La Stampa has one of the first photos of the comet surface taken by the mission and the headline: "Europe's flag on the comet."

In La Repubblica Carlo Rovelli writes: "It's a new step for humanity, one of those that makes you dream."

Business daily Il Sole 24 Ore echoes the words of the head of the Italian space agency - himself paraphrasing Neil Armstrong's words on first stepping on the moon: "A small leap for a robot. A giant stride for humankind."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The descent, monitored from Esa's mission control in Darmstadt, Germany, lasted about seven hours

The excitement is shared in Spain. "We're on a comet", says an El Correo headline. The paper pays tribute to the "historic landing".

El Pais has a large front-page image of the comet, with a caption describing Philae's landing as a "space landmark".

"Europe makes history by conquering a comet," El Mundo says at the top of its front page.

'Ukrainian comet'

In France, Liberation has a full length image of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, with the words: "Bang - on the comet: The success of the European mission."

The paper also looks at the scientists behind the mission, with profiles of the main players under the headline "They have walked on 'Churi'."

Image copyright ESA / Getty Images
Image caption It is hoped Philae can gain insights into the origins of our Solar System

The front page of Le Monde, however, uses the comet story to comment on domestic affairs.

It features a cartoon depicting a probe approaching "Comet Hollande", drawn in the likeness of France's unpopular President, Francois Hollande.

"We'll finally find out whether there's any life on this comet," well-known cartoonist Plantu has the probe transmitting.

Ukrayina Moloda lays claim to P67 referring to it as the "Ukrainian comet".

The popular Ukraine daily recalls that it was originally discovered by Ukrainian scientists and reports that the scientists were very happy when their comet was chosen for the Rosetta mission.

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

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