Rosetta Lander Philae May Be Lost But Still Talking [UPDATED]

Posted by K R on

“We are on the comet!” announced Dr Stephan Ulamec, Philae’s Lander Manager. “We are sitting on the surface and Philae is talking to us.”
Latest Update: 19.20 That's all for today. It's been quite emotional, and it's not over yet. Where is Philae? It seems that nobody knows at the moment. A press conference is scheduled for 2pm tomorrow so we should get some more updates by then. Wherever it is, it has been a remarkable day for science. 19.10 So it appears that the Philae lander bounced when it hit the comet and lifted off once more before settling somewhere away from original touchdown site. Scientists have also lost the radio link because the probe is now below the horizon and will not be contactable until tomorrow morning. Original Report: It was a day when science fiction became science fact. With minute-perfect accuracy, scientists landed a probe on a comet following a ten year journey through the solar system. The European Space Agency predicted that the first signal would arrive back on Earth at 4.03pm confirming that the Philae lander had touched down after being detached from its mothership Rosetta. And at 4.03pm the instruments at control centre in Darmstadt, Germany, sparked into life as the probe made contact and furrowed brows were replaced with beaming smiles and tears. “We are on the comet!” announced Dr Stephan Ulamec, Philae’s Lander Manager. “We are sitting on the surface and Philae is talking to us.” However initial jubilation was followed by some anxiety after it emerged that the landing harpoons had not activated, meaning that the probe was simply sitting on the soft surface without being securely attached. Just hours later Dr Ulamec was forced to admit that the scientists had lost contact with the probe and did not actually know where it was. "It's complicated to land on a comet. It's also complicated to understand what has happened during the landing. What we know is that we touched down and we landed on the comet. We had a very clear signal and we also recieved data from the lander. That is the very good news "The not so good news is that the anchoring harpoons did not fire. So the lander is not anchored to the surface. Did we just land in a soft-sand box and everything is fine? Or is there something else happening. We still do not fully understand what has happened. "Some of the data indicated that the lander may have lifted off again. It touched down and was rebouncing. So maybe today, we didn't just land once, we landed twice." Scientists had already spent a nerve-racking 24 hours prior to the landing trying to work out why Philae would not power up after its 10 year slumber in space. via Telegraph.

Share this post

← Older Post Newer Post →


Leave a comment