Comet Lander Philae Zooms Into Deep Space, Fails To Wake Up
Philae, one of the most celebrated space efforts of recent times, failed to wake up despite desperate calls-to-action sent from Earth. The comet lander is getting farther away from Sun into the deep freezing depths of our solar system.
The Washington Post recounted Philae's journey from its mothership Rosetta to the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The launch in November 2014 was smooth, but the landing tumultuous resulting in damage to some of Philae's components. That however did not deter the lander from doing its job when the comet came closer to the Sun; Philae beaconed home June last year to convey it was up and working.
The joy of its operators at the European Space Agency was short-lived as the comet prepared to leave the warmth for the cold. Since its last contact, Earth had not received any word from the lander. Now, as the comet prepares to take a plunge into far space, Philae's operators are faced with the prospect of losing the lander for good, with all the data it had collected after its last contact.
"Time is running out, so we want to explore all possibilities," says Stephan Ulamec, Philae lander manager, wrote in a blog.
The team said it would continue making efforts, including a last-ditch wakeup call on January 10. The command would activate the lander's flywheel to help prop the lander into a better position to receive some sun. New Scientist reports that move has also failed.
In its farewell note to Philae, NS quoted Ulamec saying that reality has to be faced. As part of continuing efforts to wake up Philae, the team will use Rosetta's cameras to look for lander activity, but chances of getting something out of the lander appear slim to none.