An international team working on an unprecedented mission to orbit and land on a comet will attempt a touchdown on the smaller of the comet's two lobes, a site tentatively named "J", Rosetta scientists announced on Monday.
Landing, targeted for Nov. 11, is by no means assured. Engineers, expecting the comet would be a potato-shaped, ice-covered body, put the odds of success at 70 percent.
But after a decade of travel, the Rosetta spacecraft in August reached the twin-lobed Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, which turned out to be part icy, part dusty, part dry and topographically diverse, complicating landing.
PHOTOS: 7 Intimate Close Encounters with Comets
Mission managers declined to offer new predictions for a successful touchdown, but they say landing on "J" is the best shot at success.
"This is not an easy task," Stephan Ulamec, manager for Rosetta's Philae lander, told reporters during a webcast press conference.
"There are flat areas, but there is also rough terrain. There are some cliffs, there are some boulders ... It's not a perfectly flat area as we probably would have hoped for a safe landing site," he said.