About seven months after making a bumpier-than-expected landing on a comet hurtling through deep space, the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Philae lander successfully reestablished contact with scientists on Earth late Saturday, marking a milestone in an already unprecedented mission.
The ESA announced the news on Sunday morning eastern time, but said that the data was first received in a burst that lasted about 85 seconds, from the comet lander on Saturday. The data was relayed by the Rosetta spacecraft, which is orbiting the comet. The Rosetta Mission is the first ever mission to successfully land a spacecraft on a comet.
“Philae is doing very well: It has an operating temperature of minus-35 degrees Celsius and has 24 Watts available,” said Philae project manager Dr. Stephan Ulamec, of the German Aerospace Center, in a statement.
On June 11, ESA scientists said the little spacecraft, which is about the size of a refrigerator with 10 key instruments aboard,may have traveled as far as a kilometer, about 0.6 miles, from where it touched down on the comet initially. Read more…