Home International Rosetta: Comet probe Philae now stable – scientists

Rosetta: Comet probe Philae now stable – scientists

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Rosetta Comet probe Philae now stable scientists
Rosetta Comet probe Philae now stable scientists

13 November 2014:The robot probe Philae that made a historic comet landing is now stable after initially failing to attach to the surface, and is sending pictures.

Efforts are now being made to locate the precise position of the European Space Agency probe on the comet.

Engineers say it may have bounced hundreds of metres back off the surface after first touching down.

Scientists hope the probe will analyse the comet’s surface to yield insights into the origins of our Solar System.

The Esa’s Rosetta satellite carried Philae on a 6.4 billion-km (4bn-mile) journey to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

The robot probe, the size of a washing machine, was dropped from the satellite on Wednesday and spent seven hours travelling down to the icy body.

News of the “first” landing was confirmed at about 16:05 GMT.

A quick look at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko – and what it could teach us

Ebullient mood

Controllers re-established radio communication with the probe on cue on Thursday after a scheduled break, and are retrieving pictures from it.

These show the feet of the lander and the wider cometscape.

But there is still concern about the longer-term stability of Philae because it is not properly anchored – the harpoons that should have hooked it into the surface did not fire on contact. Neither did its feet screws get any purchase.

Source BBC news

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