Monday, September 5, 2016

There it is!

A pretty good picture, considering.

Less than a month before the end of the mission, Rosetta’s high-resolution camera has revealed the Philae lander wedged into a dark crack on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.
The images were taken on 2 September by the OSIRIS narrow-angle camera as the orbiter came within 2.7 km of the surface and clearly show the main body of the lander, along with two of its three legs.
The images also provide proof of Philae’s orientation, making it clear why establishing communications was so difficult following its landing on 12 November 2014.
Philae was last seen when it first touched down at Agilkia, bounced and then flew for another two hours before ending up at a location later named Abydos, on the comet’s smaller lobe.
After three days, Philae's primary battery was exhausted and the lander went into hibernation, only to wake up again and communicate briefly with Rosetta in June and July 2015 as the comet came closer to the Sun and more power was available.

1 comment:

  1. I've always thought the European Space Agency (ESA) dropped the ball in the design of this spacecraft. So I'm reading the account of the re-discovery of the lander after months of being 'lost'. Here's the last paragraph of a story in The Guardian, as told by a journalist...

    "During the celebration on the night of the landing in 2014, I was talking to Roger Bonnet, the former director of science at ESA who greenlit the Rosetta mission back in the 1980s. I had been at a press briefing all that time ago and heard Bonnet say with tongue in cheek that NASA had so much money that they did every mission possible. He quipped that this meant the only missions left for ESA to do were the impossible ones. That night in November 2014, I told him I now believed that he hadn’t been joking after all."

    That's a sour-grapes perspective I hope to never see in our space endeavors, be it NASA, JPL, SpaceX or any other public/private partnerships. So when they fail, ESA they can blame NASA and the U.S. for picking the low hanging fruit. Screw 'em.