14 Jun 2015

Philae comet lander wakes up [After 7 months]

The European Space Agency (Esa) says its comet lander, Philae, has woken up and contacted Earth.
Philae, the first spacecraft to land on a comet, was dropped on to the surface of Comet 67P by its mothership, Rosetta, last November.
It worked for 60 hours before its solar-powered battery ran flat.
The comet has since moved nearer to the Sun and Philae has enough power to work again, says the BBC's science correspondent Jonathan Amos.
On its blog, Esa said Philae had contacted Earth, via Rosetta, for 85 seconds on Saturday in the first contact since going into hibernation in November.
"Philae is doing very well. It has an operating temperature of -35C and has 24 watts available," said Philae project manager Stephan Ulamec.
Scientists say they now waiting for the next contact.
ESA scientist Mark McCaughrean told the BBC: "It's been a long seven months, and to be quite honest we weren't sure it would happen - there are a lot of very happy people around Europe at the moment."
Philae was carrying large amounts of data that scientists hoped to download once they made contact again, he said.
"I think we're optimistic now that it's awake that we'll have several months of scientific data to pore over," he added. 
This is one of the most astonishing moments in space exploration and the grins on the faces of the scientists and engineers are totally justified, says BBC science editor David Shukman.
For the first time, we will have a hitchhiker riding on a comet and describing what happens to a comet as it heats up on its journey through space, he adds.
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Analysis: Jonathan Amos, BBC science correspondent 

When Philae first sent back images of its landing location, researchers could see it was in a dark ditch. The Sun was obscured by a high wall, limiting the amount of light that could reach the robot's solar panels.
Scientists knew they only had a limited amount of time - about 60 hours - to gather data before the robot's battery ran flat.
But the calculations also indicated that Philae's mission might not be over for good when the juice did eventually run dry. The comet is currently moving in towards the Sun, and the intensity of light falling on Philae, engineers suggested, could be sufficient in time to re-boot the machine.
And so it has proved. There is some relief also, because the very low temperatures endured by the lander in recent months could have done irreparable damage to some of the circuitry.
The fact that both the computer and transmitter have fired up indicate that the engineering has stood up remarkably well to what must have been really quite extreme conditions. Scientists must now hope they can get enough power into Philae to carry out a full range of experiments.
One ambition not fulfilled before the robot went to sleep was to try to drill into the comet, to examine its chemical make-up. One attempt was made last year, and it failed. A second attempt will now become a priority.
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Philae is designed to analyse the ice and rocky fragments that make up the comet.
The Rosetta probe took 10 years to reach 67P, and the lander - about the size of a washing-machine - bounced at least a kilometre when it touched down.
Before it lost power, Philae sent back images of its surroundings that showed it was in a dark location with high walls blocking sunlight from reaching its solar panels.
Its exact location on the duck-shaped comet has since been a mystery. 
Esa had a good idea of where it was likely to be, down to a few tens of metres, but could not get Rosetta close enough to the comet to acquire conclusive pictures.
Continued radio contact should now allow precise coordinates to be determined, correspondents say.
Comet 67P is currently 205 million km (127 million miles) from the Sun, and getting closer.


  1. I don't believe this for one second the whole space program is a fraud they do not have the mean to get more than 500 miles above the earth, its a sham to use the space program money for billion dollar bunkers and secret ops.

  2. Bounced off the surface when it landed, broke a drill while trying to penetrate the "icy" surface. The obvious fact that the comet is a solid rock is still being ignored in favor of the icy snowball theory. The electric universe theory more accurately describes the plasma reaction of comet/asteroid bodies as they plunge into the sun's positively charged fields.