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European Space Agency picks site for first comet landing in November

FILE - In this Aug. 3, 2014 file photo taken by Rosetta’s OSIRIS narrow-angle camera Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is pictured from a distance of 285 kms. Scientists at the European Space Agency on Monday, Sept. 15, 2014, announced the spot where they will attempt the first landing on a comet hurtling through space at 55,000 kph (34,000 mph). The maneuver is one of the key moments in the decade-long mission to examine the comet and learn more about the origins and evolution of objects in the universe. (AP Photo/ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team, File )

FILE - In this Aug. 3, 2014 file photo taken by Rosetta’s OSIRIS narrow-angle camera Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is pictured from a distance of 285 kms. Scientists at the European Space Agency on Monday, Sept. 15, 2014, announced the spot where they will attempt the first landing on a comet hurtling through space at 55,000 kph (34,000 mph). The maneuver is one of the key moments in the decade-long mission to examine the comet and learn more about the origins and evolution of objects in the universe. (AP Photo/ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team, File )  (The Associated Press)

The European Space Agency says it has decided on the spot where it will attempt the first landing on a comet, a maneuver that is one of the key elements of a decade-long mission.

The Paris-based agency plans to drop the 100-kilogram (220-pound) lander, called Philae, from its Rosetta space probe in November.

Scientists unanimously picked the landing spot, from five considered, on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko based on its relatively safe terrain.

But Stephan Ulamec, manager of the Philae lander project, said Monday that even with the chosen site "the risk is high."

There is a backup location on the 4-kilometer (2.5-mile) wide comet, too.

Scientists hope the lander will help them answer many questions about the origins and evolution of objects in the universe.