ESA officially ends the life of Philae, the first robot to land on a comet.
It’s time to say goodbye to Philae, the first lander ever to touch the surface of a comet.
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The European Space Agency will turn off Electrical Support System Processor Unit (ESS), the interface used for communication between Rosetta and the lander on Wednesday (July 27) and this will mark the official end of more than a decade long probe.
Switching off Philae was imminent since the lander has been silent for a long time. The last time Rosita received the signals from the Philae was in July 2015. By the end of this month, the robotic lander is expected to be some 520 million km away from the Sun and will start losing significant amount of power. So turning off the interface on Rosetta will help ESA to continue its scientific operations for next few months since this action will not allow any non-essential payload components on board to consume the power.
Philae lander accompanied by Rosetta spacecraft landed on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko on November 2014 almost ten years after being launched into space and was providing a direct analysis of the comet’s surface ever since. Its job was to help determine the composition of comet 67P by collecting samples from its surface. The lander beamed back invaluable data about the comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko and painted a rich picture of its surface over the past two years until recently when its batteries gone dead and the probe went into hibernation. In spite of that, the ESS has been kept on throughout the time and many attempts have been made to regain the contact but eventually they decided to turn if off to save energy for future experiments.
"No signal have been received by Rosetta from Philae since last July and earlier this year the lander was considered to be in a state of eternal hibernation." ESA blog reads.
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The robotic lander shared the sad news on Twitter while users also poured out their farewells to the lander.