Science

Scientists Still Can't Find the Exact Location of the Philae Lander

By | Jan 08, 2015 09:43 AM EST
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Philae on 67P

These incredible images show the breathtaking journey of Rosetta’s Philae lander as it approached and then rebounded after its first touchdown on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko on 12 November 2014.(Photo : ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA)

The European Space Agency (ESA) reports that effort to locate the Philae lander have proven unsuccessful. The agency fears the probe might be covered by dust falling back onto the surface of the comet.

Over the last two months, scientists have used the Rosetta orbiter, which originally carried Philae to comet 67P and is still orbiting the comet, to take high-resolution photographs of the comet and manually examining them for signs of Philae.

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Although scientists believe Philae likely landed within a 2.5-mile wide area, photos taken by Rosetta failed to reveal exactly where it is. Even the use of instruments didn't find the probe.

Planetary scientist at the Open University hope that as comet 67P moves closer to the Sun, the increased sunlight will provide enough solar power for the lander to wake-up and recharge its battery system.

Rosetta mission scientists stated this could happen sometime in May or June. By September, they look forward to Philae fully resuming operations.

By this time, Philae could have enough power to start using its scientific instruments once again and continue collecting data.

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