Philae Comet Lander Is Operational Once Again
Cernescu Andrei / 1 year ago
Well, it looks like the European Space Agency’s Philae comet lander is partially operational once again after several months of complete inactivity. Famous in the astronomy world for being the first spacecraft to land on an actual comet, Philae has touched down on the surface of Comet 67P after it was launched by its mothership Rosetta. This all happened last November, and even though the robot was only operational for about 60 hours before it ran out of juice, its solar panels are now receiving some much-needed solar energy.
The initial problem was that Philae landed somewhere in a deep ditch, where direct sunlight was blocked by a high wall. After it ran out of power, the lander remained in a state of hibernation, but as the comet traveled closer and closer to the sun, its solar panels eventually managed to gather up enough energy to allow it to send a message home via Twitter.
The scientists now say that Philae has 24 watts of power available and that its operating temperature is currently -35C. The story is quite incredible if you think about it, as the robot spent several months on the comet’s surface while enduring extreme temperatures only to awaken without any issues once it had enough power to do so. This is a testament to its exceptional engineering and resilience. Philae’s creators now hope that it will manage to gather up enough energy to perform a full range of experiments, including the examination of the comet’s chemical make-up, which requires some drilling.
Thank you BBCNews for providing us with this information.