Tags: philae | lander | goodbye | comet | shade

Philae Lander: Scientists Say Goodbye to 'Hibernating' Space Probe

Image: Philae Lander: Scientists Say Goodbye to 'Hibernating' Space Probe
In this February 17, 2014 handout photo illustration provided by the European Space Agency (ESA) the Philae lander is pictured descending onto the 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet. (Photo ESA via Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 12 Feb 2016 01:38 PM

Space scientists said goodbye and RIP on Friday to the Philae lander space probe, which became uncommunicative soon after landing on a comet in November 2014.

"Unfortunately, the probability of Philae re-establishing contact with our team at the DLR Lander Control Center is almost zero, and we will no longer be sending any commands," Stephan Ulamec, Philae Project Manager of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), said in a statement, quoted by Reuters.

The Philae lander’s solar-powered batteries were unable to charge because the probe landed in the shade on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, and the lander soon lost power. It awoke in June, but has not made contact with the European Space Agency’s Rosetta space orbiter since July 9, and scientists expect that its solar panels are now covered in dust. As the comet moves further from the sun, temperatures have fallen well below what the lander was designed to withstand.

"It's a sad day, of course. Philae certainly captured the imagination around the world back in 2014,” European Space Agency senior science advisor Mark McCaughrean told the BBC. "But all good things come to an end. In fact, if it had landed properly on the surface in the first place, it all would have been over last March because Philae would have overheated."

Before going silent, the lander detected organic molecules on the comet and sent back data on its sandy surface, Popular Science noted. The European Space Agency said about 80 percent of the lander’s initially planned activities were completed.

The ESA tweeted about the Philae lander’s eternal hibernation status with a cartoon drawing.


DLR’s Ulamec commented about the widespread attention the history-making expedition gained, saying “this world-wide, immense, and continued enthusiasm surprised me in an extremely positive way,” according to NPR.

Twitter users bid their farewells to the little lander that could.








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Space scientists said goodbye and RIP on Friday to the Philae lander space probe, which became uncommunicative soon after landing on a comet in November 2014.
philae, lander, goodbye, comet, shade
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2016-38-12
Friday, 12 Feb 2016 01:38 PM
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