Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right or below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.
This review of the journey of Rosetta’s lander Philae, now dead on the surface of Comet 67P/C-G, includes information about the science’s team upcoming last effort to locate the lander.
The comet’s level of activity is now decreasing, allowing Rosetta to safely and gradually reduce its distance to the comet again,” says Sylvain Lodiot, ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft operations manager. “Eventually we will be able to fly in ‘bound orbits’ again, approaching to within 10–20 km – and even closer in the final stages of the mission – putting us in a position to fly above Abydos close enough to obtain dedicated high-resolution images to finally locate Philae and understand its attitude and orientation.”
“Determining Philae’s location would also allow us to better understand the context of the incredible in situ measurements already collected, enabling us to extract even more valuable science from the data,” says Matt Taylor, ESA’s Rosetta project scientist.
They intend to try to re-establish communications with the lander, but do not have much expectations that it is able to function.