A big positive surprise from space. The Philae lander has reported back on 13 June 2015 at 22:28 (CEST), coming out of hibernation and sending the first data to Earth.
Last November a space probe named Philae landed on a comet as part of the Rosetta Mission of the European Space Agency ESA. Now after months of silence Philae has called home. The Philae lander has reported back on 13 June 2015 at 22:28 (CEST), coming out of hibernation and sending the first data to Earth.
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More than 300 data packets have been analyzed by the team at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) Lander Control Center: "Philae is doing very well – it has an operating temperature of minus 35 degrees Celsius and has 24 watts of power available," explains DLR’s Philae Project Manager, Stephan Ulamec. "The lander is ready for operations." Philae 'spoke' for 85 seconds with its team on ground in its first contact since it went into hibernation.
When analyzing the status data, it became clear that Philae also must have been awake earlier: "We have also received historical data – until now, however, the lander had not been able to contact us. "Now, the scientists are waiting for the next contact. In Philae's mass memory, there are still more than 8000 data packets, which will give the DLR team information on what happened to Philae in the past few days on comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
Philae shut down on 15 November 2015 at 01:15 CET, after being in operation on the comet for about 60 hours. Since 12 March 2015, the communication unit on the Rosetta orbiter has repeatedly been turned on to communicate with the lander and receive its reply.
The first words of Philae have been "Hello Earth! Can You Hear Me?"
Earlier this week scientists might have been able to spot Philae on the comet.
On 15 November 2014 at 01:15 CET, Philae's battery was exhausted and, after nearly 60 hours of operation on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the lander went into hibernation – in an unexpected place. Philae bounced several times before landing in its current location, and its exact position has still not been determined.
"We have been able to narrow down Philae’s location to an area of approximately 16 by 160 metres," explains Project Leader Stephan Ulamec from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR).
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Rosetta is an ESA mission with contributions from its Member States and NASA. Rosetta's Philae lander is contributed by a consortium led by DLR, MPS, CNES and ASI.