Comet Lander ‘Philae’ Wakes Up After 7 Months

Monday, June 15, 2015

Wake Up Philae

European Space Agency’s comet lander ‘Philae’ that went into hibernation seven months ago on the surface of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko has woken up and contacted scientists on earth. The probe mission to the comet lost contact with its mothzercraft Rosetta in November 2014, 60 hours after it failed to land at the designated spot.

Solar powered Philae woke up on 13 June and spoke with its team via Rosetta for 85 seconds. It tweeted, “Hello Earth! Can you hear me? #WakeUpPhilae”. On 15 November 2014, Philae went into a state of hibernation after its solar panels failed to charge because of landing at a wrong spot. Scientists back then had little hopes that the batteries would charge themselves once it nears the sun and it appears the craft did not disappoint its controllers. In its 85 seconds communication it also tweeted, “Hello @ESA_Rosetta ! I'm awake! How long have I been asleep? #Lifeonacomet”. Many of the craft’s 10 instruments were able to run their tests and transmit results before its battery ran out.

Scientists at the ESA’s European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany then analysed more than 300 data packets. They are now waiting for Philae’s battery to charge once again so that they can access more than 8000 data packets in Philae’s mass memory. This can happen in the next two months when the comet reaches its closest point to the sun.

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