The European Space Agency successfully landed its Philae spacecraft on comet 67P/G-C as part of the Rosetta mission back in November — but they still can’t figure out exactly where. Whoops.
As has been well documented, though the landing was technically a success, it didn’t go off exactly as planned. The craft bounced off the comet’s surface twice and came to rest in a dark crater. After sending back some data, the shadowy locale drained the solar battery, and Philae has been pretty much dead ever since.
The ESA team has spent the past several weeks poring over high-resolution photos of the comet taken by Rosetta, which is still in orbit over 67P/G-C, but they still haven’t spotted Philae. They think they’ve narrowed down the landing site, but they won’t be sure until the comet turns and (hopefully) gets enough sunlight to start firing off some signs of life.
Scientists hope they’ll be able to reacquire contact with Philae in May or June, and once it’s back online, they’ll be able to pinpoint its location. The situation is really the perfect example of a miraculous landing in what could've easily been a crash landing millions of miles from Earth.
But, temporarily lost or not, Philae is still rocketing around the solar system on a comet. And that's still awesome.