Europe’s Rosetta spacecraft, which for 12 months has been riding alongside a comet making its way toward the sun, on Aug. 13 witnessed the object’s closest solar approach from a distance far enough away to avoid being damaged by increasing amounts gas and dust being kicked off by the comet.
Europe’s Philae lander, riding Comet 67P as it heats up and spews off increasing amounts of gas and dust as it approaches the sun, has likely changed position or suffered transmitter failure, raising concern over whether it will be able to communicate again, the lander’s control center said July 20.
Europe’s Philae comet lander, which for unexplained reasons had been silent since June 24, reawakened July 9 for a nearly uninterrupted period of about 20 minutes, sending signals through the Rosetta orbiter, the French and German space agencies said July 10.
The European Philae comet lander’s accidental touchdown location nearly froze it to death during seven months of cometary winter but now will keep it functioning as the comet moves to its closest distance from the sun in mid-August, European space scientists said June 17.
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.