14 Jun 2015

Good morning Philae! Rosetta lander ‘wakes up’

The Philae lander, thought lost after landing on comet seven months ago, has started transmitting signals confirms the European Space Agency (ESA).

The lander went into hibernation following landing on a comet in November 2015 and nothing has been heard of it since. However scientists believe the lander has been regaining power from solar panels as the comet has neared the sun allowing it to re-activate.

“Philae is doing very well,” said project manager Stephan Ulamec in a statement on ESA’s website. “The lander is ready for operations.”

Scientists hope the lander will be take samples from the comet and provide data about how planets evolve, as it analyses the rock and ice within the comet.

The lander was released from its mothership Rosetta in November as it orbited the comet. Both Rosetta and Philae were launched 10 years ago.

Philae’s landing did not go entirely as planned when harpoons to anchor it to the surface of the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. failed to deploy and it bounced twice before floating to rest two hours later.

Comets date back to the formation of the solar system some 4.6 billion years ago. Scientists suspect comets delivered water to Earth when they collided with the planet aeons ago.