Tags: philae | comet | lander | communicate | seven years | hibernation

Philae Comet Lander Communicates With Earth for First Time in Seven Months

Image: Philae Comet Lander Communicates With Earth for First Time in Seven Months
(Jacques Brinon/Pool/Reuters, file)

By    |   Monday, 15 Jun 2015 03:39 PM

Philae, the comet lander sent to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, transmitted a message to Earth over the weekend after a seven-month hibernation.



Because the comet lander is solar-powered, Philae lost contact with the European Space Agency on Nov. 15 following just 60 hours of operation after it nestled into a shady crevice on the comet before its batteries died, according to The New York Times.

Philae made history as the first spacecraft to ever land on a comet, and its success marked the zenith of a 10-year, 4 billion-mile expedition, according to ABC News.

The Rosetta team that deployed Philae has been on high alert for any signs of life coming from the comet lander since March, when Comet 67P began to enter a sunnier orbit path. Doubts still remained, however, concerning whether or not the extra sunlight would effectively recharge Philae’s batteries, or whether its batteries were too irrevocably frozen, The New York Times reported.

Philae’s 85-second burst of communication also contained 300 data packages that were relayed to the Rosetta mothership, according to Fox News. It is expected to relay approximately 8,000 more packages within the next couple weeks.

On Aug. 13, Comet 67P will reach the point of its orbit that is closest to the sun. After that point, Philae is expected to remain operational until October, when it will most likely again fall silent, according to Fox News.

“The silver lining is that by not waking up until now, we’re actually at a much more interesting time in the comet’s life,” Dr. Mark McCaughrean of the European Space Agency told The New York Times. “We’re really excited to have the mission back in one piece, at least for a few more months.”

Here are a few reactions on social media to Philae’s reawakening:







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Philae, the comet lander sent to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, transmitted a message to Earth over the weekend after a seven-month hibernation.
philae, comet, lander, communicate, seven years, hibernation
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2015-39-15
Monday, 15 Jun 2015 03:39 PM
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