Philae Lander Could Emerge From Solar Sleep By May 2015

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The Philae lander successfully landed on the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in November 2014, only to go offline a short time later. The lander touched down in a “dark spot” on the comet, and eventually lost its ability to use solar power. Now researchers at the European Space Agency have estimated the re-emergence of the lander in May.

The Rosetta orbiter that dropped Philae onto Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko has continued its scheduled scientific missions, moving farther away from the comet, which has left researchers with less photos from the comet and the Philae lander.

The group says the Philae Lander could get enough sunlight to boot up by early March, but will require a good deal of power to begin regular communications with Rosetta and the ESA.

“We are already discussing and preparing which instruments should be operated for how long,” project scientist Stephan Ulamec said in a statement.

Researchers have remained positive about the lander’s landing spot. Had it arrived where originally planned, it would have become too hot to operate by March as the comet moves ever closer to the sun.

Scientists believe that the comet will start behaving in new and undiscovered ways as it approaches closer to the sun.

You can check out the Philae Lander’s travels and learn more about the agencies mission on the ESA blog.

This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: Philae Lander Could Emerge From Solar Sleep By May 2015

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