Philae finally breaks its silence on Saturday
After seven-month slumber on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, Rosetta spacecraft’s Philea lander has woken up.
The ESA’s lander sent a signal back to Earth via its mother spacecraft Rosetta, which is between 200 and 240 kilometers (124 and 150 miles away from the comet.
The lander is now receiving enough sunlight to contact its mother ship Rosetta and will now pass a massive backlog of data back to Earth.
The European Space Agency (ESA) launched the Rosetta space probe on an unprecedented, one-way mission On March 2nd, 2004. After 10 years, Rosetta and Philae reached their destination.
Both of them were designed to answer the mysteries surrounding comets; specifically, the nature of the nucleus and the composition of the comet itself.
Philae descended on the comet on November 12, 2014. As it began to decent towards its chosen landing site, J, it gathered data and faithfully transmitted its findings back home.
However, when the lander was drawing closer to the comet, something went wrong. It was unable to latch onto the icy surface of the comet and bounced into a dark area with no sunlight.
Now since Philae has booted back, it collected most of the information in the last few days with its various scientific tools and sensors.
The washing machine-size lander is only sending back what controllers describe as housekeeping and systems data.
Scientists will need to improve communications and send it new commands in order to receive more data. Scientists hope to improve communications with the lander by shifting the trajectory Rosetta.
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