The Philae lander of Europe’s Rosetta comet mission is shown in this artistic rendering. Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)

The Philae lander of Europe’s Rosetta comet mission is shown in this artistic rendering.
Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)

On June 13, the European Space Agency’s Philae lander woke up for 85 seconds for the first time after a nearly seven-month hibernation.

The Philae lander also reported back on June 14 sending some data packets that are now being evaluated.

The data acquired during the second contact confirms that Philae — planted on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko — is in good condition and ready for operations.

To permit longer communication links with the lander, the trajectories of the Rosetta spacecraft now orbiting the comet are going to modified.

Along for the ride

Given stable and long duration connections to Philae, more scientific work with the probe’s 10 instruments is planned.

Long distance view taken by the Rosetta orbiter of the comet nucleus may show Philae – but maybe not. Credits: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

Long distance view taken by the Rosetta orbiter of the comet nucleus may show Philae – but maybe not.
Credits: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

“First, the non-mechanical instruments will be used… instruments that do not drill or hammer,” explains Stephan Ulamec at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum fuer Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR. He is DLR Philae Lander Project Leader.

Thanks to the awakening of Philae, it appears possible to carry out on-the-spot research on the comet as the celestial wanderer becomes ever-more active on the way to the Sun for the first time.

Powering-up

Philae is currently receiving at least three hours of sunlight per comet day, which supplies the lander with energy. Philae’s body is coated with solar panels.

Recent image of the active Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko taken from a safe distance by Rosetta orbiter. Credits: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

Recent image of the active Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko taken from a safe distance by Rosetta orbiter.
Credits: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

Rosetta is an ESA mission with contributions from its Member States and NASA. Rosetta was launched On March 2, 2004 and let loose the lander that touched down on the comet on November 12, 2014.

Rosetta’s Philae lander is contributed by a consortium led by DLR, MPS, CNES of France and ASI of Italy.

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