Philae's phinal phlop: Lonely lander didn't answer wakeup signal

Odds of revival: tiny. Odds of brick on comet: unbackable

Sunday's attempt to make contact with the Philae lander on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko has not succeeded.

As we reported yesterday, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) yesterday on Sunday sent a command to Philae, suggesting it spin up its flywheel. That command was hoped to either lead to the lander shifting so its solar panels could catch some power-giving rays, or to shake dust from the panels.

We've no idea if Philae received the command or acted on it, because as Twitter conversation below shows the lander hasn't responded.

DLR lander manager Stephan Ulamec told New Scientist the Philae team will keep trying, but feels the lander has almost-certainly bricked.

Which is a shame, because Philae still contains data about Comet 67P it's not been able to upload.

The Rosetta probe, which bore Philae to Comet 67P, is still trying to spot the lander. It's hoped that the probe will be able to see Philae when it plunges comet-wards on its final low-altitude death dive in September, with a view to learning more about where Philae landed and why it was unable to operate. ®


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