Site J, Philae's primary landing site.

Agilkia, Philae’s landing site on Comet 67P/C-G. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

Eight days before Rosetta’s lander Philae is scheduled to touch down on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, and a name has been chosen for the landing site: Agilkia.

The landing site, previously known as ‘Site J’, is named for Agilkia Island, an island on the Nile River in the south of Egypt. A complex of Ancient Egyptian buildings, including the famous Temple of Isis, was moved to Agilkia from the island of Philae when the latter was flooded during the building of the Aswan dams in the 20th century.

The name was selected by a jury comprising members of the Philae Lander Steering Committee as part of a public competition held 16–22 October by ESA and the German, French and Italian space agencies.

Agilkia was one of the most popular entries – it was proposed by over 150 participants. The committee selected Alexandre Brouste from France as the overall winner. As a prize, Mr Brouste will be invited to ESA’s Space Operations Control Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, to follow the landing live.

Although perhaps not quite as complicated as navigating Rosetta and Philae towards the comet, the task of choosing a name was by no means simple. More than 8000 entries from 135 countries were received in one week, showing great creativity and cultural diversity.

Thank you to everyone who entered!


Read the full article announcing the winner on the ESA portal: Farewell ‘J’, hello Agilkia.