FEB 14, 2016 8:59 AM PST

Philae Comet Lander Will Not Be Heard From Again

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

The European Space Agency’s Philae comet lander, which landed on comet 67P in 2014, has not been heard from since mid-2015. The lander didn’t land properly on the comet, and its position made it difficult to collect sunlight to provide the lander with sufficient power.
 

Scientists will now stop trying to reach out to Philae after it fails to answer any requests for information.


As a direct result of the lack of proper sunlight, Philae is now dormant. Scientists have lost hope in ever being able to communicate with Philae again, and are already giving up on trying to communicate with it again after recent attempts to talk to Philae went unnoticed by the lander.

That's not to say that we haven't heard from Philae at all; we've heard some signals from the lander, but they have been few and far in between, or for very short periods of time due to being in a low power mode.
 
"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," said Stephan Ulamec, the lander's project manager at DLR.
 
The comet Philae is landed on is currently moving away from the Sun in its orbit, and as it continues down its path, Philae not only sees fewer sunlight rays to power the lander’s on-board equipment, but it also get colder, which will hinder the effectiveness of said on-board equipment and potentially damage it.
 
With that being said, Philae might be in a similar position in the distant future, but by then, the lander’s probes and equipment may be destroyed by the harsh conditions on the comet.
 
The Rosetta spacecraft which brought the lander to comet 67P, on the other hand, will remain very much active. The spacecraft continues to orbit the comet, and although Philae isn’t answering scientists, Rosetta is.
 
Perhaps on a future space mission, we can attempt to land another Philae-like lander on a comet once again. The trick will be landing it in such a way that it’ll receive enough sunlight to power it so scientists can communicate with it.
 
Regardless of the mission’s failure, we still learned just a bit about comet 67P.  

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
MAR 08, 2020
Space & Astronomy
2020 Has a Lot of Martian Missions in Store
MAR 08, 2020
2020 Has a Lot of Martian Missions in Store
Space agencies typically send missions to Mars once every several years, depending on the need for scientific exploratio ...
APR 12, 2020
Space & Astronomy
NASA Attaches Autonomous Helicopter to Perseverance Rover
APR 12, 2020
NASA Attaches Autonomous Helicopter to Perseverance Rover
Those paying any attention to NASA’s periodic updates during these past several weeks should have perceived what s ...
APR 10, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Discovery on solar interstellar magnetic field
APR 10, 2020
Discovery on solar interstellar magnetic field
New information on the solar neighborhood has allowed researchers from the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the Un ...
JUN 09, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Can Time Flow Backward? Very Unlikely According to a Recent Black Hole Simulation
JUN 09, 2020
Can Time Flow Backward? Very Unlikely According to a Recent Black Hole Simulation
The idea of time in physics is often associated with the second law of thermodynamics, which states that the entropy of ...
JUL 29, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Molecular Footloose: Carbon Monoxide Molecules "Square Dance" with Each Other
JUL 29, 2020
Molecular Footloose: Carbon Monoxide Molecules "Square Dance" with Each Other
The act of "dancing" is not limited to humans, as scientists recently discovered. According to a group of Holl ...
AUG 05, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Mars Was Shaped by Ice Sheets - not Rivers
AUG 05, 2020
Mars Was Shaped by Ice Sheets - not Rivers
Physicists have found that in the distant past, Mars may not have been warm enough to carry vast oceans. Instead, in new ...
Loading Comments...