After nearly five months of deep slumber scientists from European Space Agency are planning to wake up the stricken Philae lander tomorrow. The spacecraft that was on a mission of comet exploration landed in comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in November last year. However, due to unexpected bouncy landing the probe landed in a much cooler area than expected and was exposed with far less sunlight than scientists thought.
Thus, scientists assume that the lander that has been in low power mode just after three days of its landing back in November last year, might have collected enough energy to give it a bump start and resume the work. Scientists are optimistic about the lander as the comet on which it is residing is moving towards the sun at a speed of 40,000 miles per hour.
“Philae currently receives about twice as much solar energy as it did in November last year,” says the lander’s project manager Stephan Ulamec. “It will probably still be too cold for the lander to wake up, but it is worth trying. The prospects will improve with each passing day.”
The Philea spacecraft needs to generate at least 5.5 watts of power to wake up. In addition, its internal temperature must be at least -45 degree Celsius. Once the threshold conditions are met, the probe will try to communicate with the Rosetta spacecraft. However, scientists still don’t know the exact location of the Philae spacecraft as it has turned off its transmitter since it was in low power mode. However, researchers will make every possible effort to wake it up over next ten days.
“If we cannot establish contact with Philae before 20 March, we will make another attempt at the next opportunity,” says Ulamec. “Once we can communicate with Philae again, the scientific work can begin.”
Moreover, scientists are exploring comets as it might give insight into how our planet formed; the unsolved mystery yet. According to an another study, when earth was building up to support life forms, it suffered many collisions with comets that brought more than 60 percent of water present in oceans. Thus, researchers believe that comets can link the scattered clues.Tags: European Space Agency, Philae lander, probe, spacecraft