JUN 14, 2015 09:03 AM PDT

Philae Comet Lander Heard From for the First Time in 7 Months

For the first time in seven long months, the Philae lander from the European Space Agency (ESA) has woken up and sent a signal to Earth.

Philae has been dormant at its landing site for 7 months and has finally awoken.

Last November, the Philae landed on a comet known as 67P, thanks to the help of the Rosetta carrier ship. But a few days in to the exploration, the lander ran out of power and had to power off.

Fortunately however, the lander is equipped with solar panels capable of re-charging the built-in battery, so for scientists, it's just a matter of waiting and being patient for the lander to soak enough power from the sun.

It was unknown when exactly the Philae would capture enough sunlight to be able to power back on again, but a surprise Saturday morning left scientists with a signal lasting approximately 85 seconds that was relayed to Rosetta from Philae.

"I'm not really surprised it happened, but if you wait for several months and then suddenly in the middle of the night you get a call saying 'we have a signal from Philae,' it's exciting," project manager Stephan Ulamec said in a comment. "We're very happy."

The signal carried good news too; it told scientists that the lander was "doing well" and all systems were working as expected. About 300 packets were received.

"Philae is doing very well: It has an operating temperature of -35ºC and has 24 Watts available," Ulamec continued. "The lander is ready for operations."

With the current charge from the Sun, and all of the light the lander is expected to get in coming months, it is expected that Philae is said to be operational until at least this October, which should provide scientists with enough time to search for discoveries and some answers to unanswered questions.

Scientists are going to be taking full advantage of the current activity of the comet, which is said to be in its most active phase right now, and it should be interesting to see what they can uncover.



Source: BBC

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
AUG 07, 2018
Space & Astronomy
AUG 07, 2018
Why Does the James Webb Space Telescope Keep Getting Delayed?
The James Webb Space Telescope is set to become NASA’s latest and greatest space-based observatory, superseding the Hubble Space Telescope as the big...
AUG 15, 2018
Space & Astronomy
AUG 15, 2018
This Hot Exoplanet's Atmosphere Contains Gaseous Atomic Iron and Titanium
Exoplanetary research is a hot commodity among astronomers. Not only can it teach us more about planetary formation and the birth of our solar system, but...
SEP 11, 2018
Space & Astronomy
SEP 11, 2018
Lunar Rock Samples Collected by the Apollo Astronauts May Not Tell the Moon's Entire Story
While some researchers study our planet to learn more about its history and formation, other researchers focus their efforts on alternative bodies in the s...
OCT 15, 2018
Space & Astronomy
OCT 15, 2018
Picking a Landing Site On Mars is No Easy Task
When space agencies like NASA send landers and rovers to other places in the solar system to explore, one of the most challenging questions they’re c...
OCT 29, 2018
Space & Astronomy
OCT 29, 2018
NASA's Parker Solar Probe Shatters Record for Closest Spacecraft to the Sun
NASA’s Sun-bound Solar Parker Probe has been sailing through outer space for just over two months, and it’s already breaking previously-set rec...
NOV 05, 2018
Space & Astronomy
NOV 05, 2018
The Mystery Behind Oumuamua Continues...
Last year, Oumuamua became the first-known interstellar object to be identified by astronomers as it passed through our solar system. At first, astronomers...
Loading Comments...