A comet picture taken by Philae on the way down


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Comet 67P/C-G as seen by Philae during its descent

I am not sure if the actual landing site is visible in this image. I don’t think so as nothing seems to match what was on the earlier close-up. Moreover, the Rosetta website does not say.

No images on the surface have yet been released. There are also issues that could prevent a full success.

However, while the lander has touched down on the comet using its harpoons, scientists said that it had not yet deployed its anchors which meant that it was not completely attached to the surface. The surface was much softer than they expected, so there were some concerns that it was not securely fixed on the comet – although from a software point of view things seemed to be fine. Engineers will attempt to fire the anchors again soon in order to keep Philae attached to the surface of the comet.

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3 comments

  • mpthompson

    The surface was much softer than they expected…

    I’m sure these guys are highly qualified and know what they are doing, but I do have to say that if on a mission such as this you aren’t designing for the unexpected, you should probably be doing something else.

    Also, once the robot has finally settled down, does it really need to be anchored? Or, are there moving mechanical elements that could actually knock it off the comet?

    Anyway. Very good stuff. A fascinating mission which hopefully result in 100 more questions for everyone that it answers.

  • Philae has a drill for probing into the surface. To use it the spacecraft needs to be firmly anchored.

  • mpthompson

    Got it. That would be a problem. Thanks.

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