Philae Lander Reawakens on Comet


PARIS — The German and European space agencies on June 14 said Europe’s Philae lander, which has remained silent since mid-November after operating for nearly 60 hours on Comet 67P, reawakened and began sending fresh data for a total of 85 seconds on June 13.

Stephan Ulamec, Philae project manager at the German Aerospace Center, DLR, said Philae’s temperature is minus 34 degrees Celsius and that it has 24 watts of available power. “The lander is ready for operations,” Ulamec said in a statement.

European officials had been training Philae’s mothership, the Rosetta comet chaser satellite, on Comet 67P since March in hopes that, as Comet 67P approaches the Sun, the lander’s batteries would recharge sufficiently to permit continued observations from the surface.

Ulamec said an early analysis of the recent data packets show that Philae had in fact awakened earlier and had been collecting data but had been unable to communicate.