Philae finally found on comet

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The Philae lander was confirmed as located and photographed on Sunday.
By Linda Mack | Sep 06, 2016

The Philae lander was confirmed as located and photographedon Sunday.

Philae, a European Space Agency comet lander that had been considered irretrievable, was found on Friday.

Philae accompanied the Rosetta spacecraft, which launched in 2004. Philae separated from Rosetta in 2014 to land oncomet67P/ChuryumovGerasimenko but did not land cleanly.

Although there were technical difficulties, it was confirmed that Philae had made the first non-destructive landing on a comet nucleus.

Philae also deliveredthe first direct analysis of a comet, sending pictures and data back to Rosetta. Then, in November, 2014, went into an unscheduled hibernation period.

The hibernation was due to its non-optimal landing and it being away from enough light to continue battery operation. Philae sent information very sporadically, possibly thanks to solar paneled power, but then lost contact with Rosetta in July 2015.

Scientists spent over a year attempting to photograph Philae, which they had located but were unable to find.

"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," explained Stephan Ulamec, Philae project manager in February, 2016. "It would be very surprising if we received a signal now."

On Friday, with less than a month left on theRosetta mission, a probewas able to photographthe robot lying on its side in a crack in the comet.

"THE SEARCH IS OVER! I've found @Philae2014!!" tweeted anexcited Rosetta Mission team.


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