"History was made at 15:35 GMT on 12 November 2014 when the Philae module touched down on the surface of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, a comet 511 million km from Earth and hurtling towards the inner solar system at nearly 55,000 km/h," physicsworld.com said in a statement.

The landing of the probe was the culmination of 10 years' work by scientists at the European Space Agency (ESA), who successfully guided the Rosetta spacecraft through the inner solar system to finally meet up with the comet.

On November 12, a signal was received in the ESA control room confirming that the Philae had completed its seven-hour descent and had landed safely on the surface of Comet 67P. From a shortlist of 10 highly commended breakthroughs, the historic achievement by scientists working on the Rosetta mission was singled out by the Physics World editorial team for its significance and fundamental importance to space science.

"By landing the Philae probe on a distant comet, the Rosetta team has begun a new chapter in our understanding of how the solar system formed and evolved and ultimately how life was able to emerge on Earth," said Hamish Johnston, editor of physicsworld.com.

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