Philae Lander Touch Down: Mission Accomplished But Not Quite.

Last November 12 Philae lander was launched expecting to make a historical touchdown on comet 67P/Churyumov-Geraseminko, the first ever in the history of space exploration.  But for some reason as it landed it deviated from its planned course and recharging its batteries became difficult and they ultimately went dead and stopped working last December 14 until at present. Efforts by Rosetta spaceship to find it has not been successful so far.

The Philae lander is equipped with solar panels according to the scientists behind the mission. And they said that once they are recharged the lander will become operational once more. The main problem right now is where the lander might be, nobody knows of course. It’s too far from the sun to fully recharge its batteries and getting it back working again is may be out of the question at the moment.

The European Space Agency said all they could do is wait for the lander to charge and start sending signals so that scientists will be able to locate it. Rosetta has been taking pictures in the hope of snagging that one bright object which is no other than the Philae lander.

Pictures were taken by Rosetta last December 12, 13, and 14 but to no avail. The people manning the mission control are not sure whether Rosetta will be able to find the lander or not. The comet is approaching the sun on its journey and the expectation is that the light from the sun will soon reach the lander and will charge it.

If the course of the comet will continue, scientists are hoping the lander will be operational again by May or June. The lander was able to send some data back to earth before it went into rest mode.

Early results revealed that the comet is under a shroud of soft dusty soil which is approximately 15 to 20 cm deep. Scientists are hoping to see the comet start becoming more active and volatile again as it gets near the sun and starts spewing molecules filled with gases.

 

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