Scientists To Receive New Message From Space Within A Few Hours

The chance to hear from Philae comes every 12.5 hours, but the lander isn’t always able to send back information.

The previous communication was not that good but the one coming up is going to be a good candidate.

The Rosetta team are aware that Philae has collected a good amount of data, but now they wait for the communication to be strong enough for it get transferred.

“It works like a mobile phone signal, dropping out and coming back,” said McCaughrean. “But when you’re hoping to squirt data down the line, you need it to stay up, or you have to start again and again, many times.

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The spacecraft has communicated for the second time since it woke up a few days ago. Scientists are hoping to improve communications with the craft by moving the trajectory of its mother ship.

Philae was the first spacecraft to settle on a comet. It touched down on the icy 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in November but only send data to Earth only 60 hours before running out of power.

Philae approached the sun, to the excitement of scientists and absorbed enough energy to recharge its battery and wake up the Lander.

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Saturday – it sent a signal to Earth through Rosetta, its mother ship, which is 124 to 150 miles away from the comet.

Sunday – it contacted again sending five packets of data , but lesser data than the previous contact. The reason for the unstable connection could be increase in distance between the Lander and Rosetta, the mother spacecraft.

Wednesday – scientists plans to move Rosetta closer to Philae to improve communication.

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For the time being, the washing-machine-size lander is sending back only what controllers describe as housekeeping and systems data.

To be able to get more, scientists will need to improve communications and send it new commands.ESA’s Rosetta team is bracing for a busy few months analyzing all the data that has already come in — and the results of tests they now hope to be able to carry out.

The mission was originally due to end on December 31, but plans are being made to extend it until September 2016. Philae will be long dead by then — it’s expected to run out of power for good in October — but Rosetta can keep working for almost another year.

Once it begins to run out of fuel, the team will use what little remains to send the satellite spiraling slowly down to its final resting place on the surface of the comet it has spent years studying.
“It will be sad, but all good things come to an end,” said McCaughrean.

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