The universe is expanding, say scientists, and I'm inclined to take them for their word. These are the folks who dreamed up and brought us successful landings on the moon, routinely scheduled shuttle trips into space, and a landing on Mars - all achievements previously thought impossible, not only because they were complicated, but because they were believed countered to what humans believed possible.

On Wednedsay, the European Space Agency landed a space probe - a small spacecraft with cameras and sensors and all kinds of instruments - on the surface of a comet over 6.4 billion kilometers from our planet. After a 10-year voyage that began in 2004, the Rosetta spacecraft made its seven hour landing on 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. Orbitting the sun just like us, the comet is has two distinct lobes and has just enough gravity that a landing can be made with careful calculation. The ESA is excited to get to work on studying and observing the comet. Make sure to click the image above to see it in its full, high-res glory! You can learn more about this comet here!

A comet landing is unique for a number of reasons. First off, we've never landed on a Comet before! Rosetta's lander Philae was the first to land on a comet nucleus Secondly, while a Mars landing sounds more grandiose than a comet landing, it's a whole lot easier - like Earth, Mars is a planet - large, round, predictable, and most importantly, flat on its surface. Landing on a rocky comet is another story entirely. Finally, the distance and orbit of the comet are astonishing. While Mars is only 54 million kilometers away, Comet 67P is 6.4 billion kilometers away.

A landing of this nature, with photographs so clear and calculations so precise, at such a huge distance, and with such an enormous margin for error, is another huge leap in how far our reach into space is. Though it might not be clear how at this point, it's another step forward in the expanding psyche and awareness of the vast mystery of the universe.

The notion of the universe expanding is steeped in metaphor and significance of the human sort as well, and is a process that often requires exposure to difficult and challenging new ideas to reach the reward of an expanded view of the divine. When astronomer Nicholas Copernicus, who also happened to be a Catholic if you didn't already know, proposed that it was the earth that revolved aroundt the sun and not the other way around, he was stepping not only toes in the scientific community but also within the realm of theology. All scientific observations aside, his heliocentric model was a threat on a philosophical level to an age-old belief that the God had put the earth in the middle of the universe, everything in existence in the heavens focused in on and oriented to the cradle of his creation and his people.

After a few decades of persecution, the church eventually accepted the model as the science proved undeniable, and today our understanding of God's creative power is all the more complex because of the efforts of astronomy, with science allowing us very literally to peer into the heavens. The actual exploration of space has done that as well, shattering some ideas about how we ought to see God's presence in his creation. When the Russians sent the Cosmonaut Yuri Gaugarin up in his Vostok rocket, they asked the first man in space if he saw any sign of heaven or of God. He replied he saw nothing but the beauty of the cosmos. Hardly conlusive evidence, but to the Soviet atheist mindset at the time it could have been a philosophical shattering of dogma.

We might re-assure ourselves we know better now, but the truth is we always be encountering difficult seismic shifts in our understanding of how God has created and is creating this incredible vast universe. Our observations of the heavens are both a lovesong to the God we know and tiny reflections and glimmers that merely scratch the surface of the God we can never fully know. A God that is truly God - indescrible, uncontainable - a God we are always learning new and sometimes challenging things about. God knew every inch of 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko before we got anywhere near it.

So feast your eyes on Comet 67P, with all of its nooks, crannies, and speckles of rock and dust, and understand what you're seeing is the God know touching the God that in a vast sense we are only beginning to discover.