European Space Agency Make Final Effort to Contact Philae Comet LanderBy Russell Westerholm
With the main portion of the Rosetta mission completed, the European Space Agency is making one final attempt to reach its Philae comet lander.
According to Discovery News, ESA mission managers sent a transmission to Comet 67P/C-G in hopes of reaching Philae. The last time the ESA was able to get hold of Philae was in July, just ahead of the comet making its closest approach with the sun.
Philae landed on Comet 67P/C-G in Nov. 12, 2014, but the attempt did not go as planned and the probe wound up where it could not catch any of the sun's rays in order to recharge. Philae was able to power back up as the comet drew closer to the sun, but communication with mission managers on the ground was still scarce.
Now that the comet has passed the sun and remained intact, it is sailing farther and farther away, taking Philae and the Rosetta satellite with it.
"Time is running out, so we want to explore all possibilities," Stephan Ulamec, Philae lander manager at DLR, said in an ESA blog post. "Unfortunately, Philae's silence does not bode well."
Ulamec and his team of researchers detailed their findings in a report published by the German Aerospace Center.
"There is a small chance," Cinzia Fantinati, Philae's operations manager from DLR's control team, said in the blog post. "We want to leave no stone unturned."