Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Missing Spacecraft Found on Comet

Missing Spacecraft Found on Comet 9-2-16

      The final resting place of the European comet lander Philae is a mystery no more. After nearly two years of searching, the lander's shadowy grave on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko has been found in images from its mothership Rosetta.
Elizabeth Howell

The European Space Agency's Philae lander touched down on Comet 67P (as scientists call it) in Nov. 12, 2014, but its final location was uncertain due to the probe's rough, bouncy landing. News of Philae's discovery comes just weeks before Rosetta — low on solar power as the comet moves away from the sun — is set for a dramatic touchdown itself on 67P's surface to end the mission. In a statement today (Sept. 5), ESA officials expressed marvel that they found Philae at almost the last minute.

"With only a month left of the Rosetta mission, we are so happy to have finally imaged Philae, and to see it in such amazing detail," said Cecilia Tubiana of the OSIRIS narrow-angle camera team, in a statement. She was the first person to see the images when they were downlinked from Rosetta yesterday. ...

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