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Philae comet lander wakes up and phones home

Rosetta’s lander Philae has come out of hibernation, sending signals to ESA’s European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt over the weekend from the surface of  Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

“Philae is doing very well: It has an operating temperature of -35ºC and has 24 Watts available,” explains DLR Philae Project Manager Dr. Stephan Ulamec. “The lander is ready for operations.”

For 85 seconds Philae “spoke” with its team on ground, via Rosetta, in the first contact since going into hibernation in November.

But the lander apparently was active even earlier than that.

“We have also received historical data – so far, however, the lander had not been able to contact us earlier.”

Philae shut down on 15 November 2014 at 1:15 CET after being in operation on the comet for about 60 hours. Since 12 March 2015 the communication unit on orbiter Rosetta was turned on to listen out for the lander.

More on the historic comet mission:

Rosetta: ‘At the limit of what humankind can do’

All set for our first comet landing


Bill Condie

Bill Condie

Bill Condie is a science journalist based in Adelaide, Australia.

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