After seven months of silence, the European Space Agency’s Philae lander has finally contacted earth again.
According to the organization, the lander contacted European Space Operations Center in Darmstadt, Germany last Saturday, finally giving scientists some satisfaction after a miscalculation caused them months of waiting.
When the probe first landed on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, it only operated for 60 hours before running out of juice since it landed beside a cliff that blocked sunlight from getting to its solar panels. Scientists, however, weren’t too worried since they had a projection of the comet’s path and expected the lander to be restored to full functionality sometime in the future.
According to Philae project manager at the German Aerospace Center (DLR), Stephan Ulamec: “Philae is doing very well: It has an operating temperature of -35ºC (-31ºF) and has 24 Watts available.” “The lander is ready for operations.”
For more information on the specifics, you may want to google the Rosetta blog on the European Space Agency’s (ESA) website.
An excerpt from the blog read: “There are still more than 8000 data packets in Philae’s mass memory which will give the DLR team information on what happened to the lander in the past few days on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.”