(The Monitor Daily, US) – The European Space Agency redoubles its efforts to contact Philae, the comet lander. ESA tries to reestablish contact with the prodigal lander after it has gone dark in the summer.
On 2nd of March 2003, the European Space Agency launched Philae into space. Its primary mission was to land on the 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet to conduct a series of scientific experiments.
After successfully landing on the comet, on the 6th of August 2014, Philae began to relay pertinent data about the comet’s composition. However, ever since November, the bold space probe went to sleep in the comet’s shadowy regions.
Many have thought that the probe simply ran out of juice, a fact to be confirmed in the month of June. After giving up on the probe, somewhere in June, Philae woke up and started to transmit information back to the space center. The scientists confirmed that the probe managed to wake up because the comet shifted its position, exposing Philae’s power panels to the Sun.
The team was in high hopes, thinking that Philae can continue to do some more experiments before it runs out of energy. However, their victory was short-lived because ever since the 9th of July, the ground team lost contact with the space laboratory.
ESA tries to reestablish contact with the prodigal lander after the craft failed to contact the orbiter Rosetta. As of now, the European Space Agency is thinking of sending yet another craft into space in order to investigate the whereabouts of the silent spacecraft.
On the 21st of December, Philae managed to transmit a couple of data packages back to the command center, making the scientists believe that the probe may yet still be alive and kicking. However, the signal intensity was so low, that they could not make heads of tails of it.
Meanwhile, the ground team is struggling to get the probe online, because, as time passes, the comet moves away from the Sun. If this happens before the team can awaken the slumbering robotic scientists, the conditions on the surface will lead to the craft’s destruction.
Beginning on Sunday, the scientists will try to use Philae’s flywheel, in order to make the craft shed off the layers of dust from the solar panels. The team hopes that with the dust swept away, Philae will be able to power up his internal components.
There is no guarantee that this will succeed, but the team is struggling to do everything they can in order to salvage the probe and the mission. Presently, the comet is moving at over 135.000 kph, which makes time of the essence.
ESA tries to reestablish contact with the prodigal lander after months of silence.