The robot we landed on a comet just woke up!!!
Hello everyone, and happy Sunday! And what a Sunday it is! Everyone, get ready for more awesome science to be performed on the surface of a comet because the ESA Philae lander is AWAKE!!!!
Philae touched down (3 times) last year onto the surface of comet 67P, as part of the Rosetta space mission. However, it found itself far from its intended landing position, jammed under a cliff like feature. Its new home didn't get enough sun to recharge its batteries, so it was only able to survive for a few days on its original power source before powering down. But, there was always the hope that as the comet got closer to the Sun, Philae would get more daylight and power up once more. And last night, ESA operations received a signal from Philae. It was awake, charged, and hopefully ready to do some more science!
True to form, the exciting news broke on the Philae Twitter account, meaning we are back to having more adorable conversations between space robots, as Rosetta and Philae start to work together once more.
Hello Earth! Can you hear me? #WakeUpPhilae— Philae Lander (@Philae2014) June 14, 2015
Hello @Philae2014! You’ve had a long sleep, about 7 months!— ESA Rosetta Mission (@ESA_Rosetta) June 14, 2015
The first contact with Philae contained a bunch of data, and leads those in charge of the mission to believe that Philae has been awake for a few days. They're analysing all this data now, and are waiting for their next contact with the probe. At that point, we should start to get a better idea of how Philae is doing, and what the little robots next science objectives can/should be.
For now, let's all just celebrate the little comet lander that could, as Philae rejoins the comet on its journey around the Sun. And keep an eye on the Rosetta blog for more news as it happens :)