The European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission had a bit of a bumpy landing, but eventually managed to settle down on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. After eight months of hibernation, the Philae lander is finally back online.
The ESA has confirmed the Philae lander has awoken from energy-saver mode and it is able to send some data back to Earth soon. The mission sent the little lander to the comet to gather some intel on the comet. But during the landing, Philae bounced off the optimal landing zone and ended up sitting in a shadow. Since the craft pulls juice from solar power, it was forced to hibernate in a darker area, in hopes it might wake up when it got closer to the sun.
Well, the comet has turned closer to the sun, and Philae is alive and kicking.
Officials say that, after they analyzed some of Philae’s data, it seems the lander was “awake” even earlier, but unable to contact Earth. That could be a good thing, meaning Philae was banking some data that can now be beamed back. There are still more than 8,000 data packets in Philae’s mass memory, which could provide a ton of great intel about life on a -35 degree Celsius comet. Brrrrr.
(Via European Space Agency)