Update, November 14, 4:48 p.m. Pacific: Philae is in a location that doesn’t get enough sunlight to operate its solar panels. It is running on the power it left Rosetta with. The ESA has put it to sleep after getting as much science out of it today that they could. It can be woken up as needed (hopefully). Emily Lakdawalla of the Planetary Society has more about this.
Bouncing…who would have expected it to do that on a comet!
Update, November 13, 5:08 p.m. Pacific: Philae bounced three times during landing yesterday (a surface quality they didn’t expect the comet to have, it seems), and while Rosetta still can’t see it, per news reports, the lander is now in a depression near a cliff. There isn’t enough sunlight to power its solar panels, reportedly, and one leg is off the ground.
The ESA team may have decided to use the MUPUS instruments to move the lander – time will tell on that.
They deduced this from instrument readings, I guess, and this imagery from Philae:
Update, November 12, 10:33 a.m. Pacific: As you have probably heard, they made it!
Here’s an ESA news release. So far, there are two tweets from Philae’s team:
And there is this…location to be determined later:
Note that they don’t say how the mission came out, only that there were bigger ones…this film is actually a commitment to the future of space science and exploration, even if the Philae landing fails.
What Raymond Chandler said about writing is also true in general about human beings:
A writer who is afraid to over-reach himself is as useless as a general who is afraid to be wrong.
Good luck, Philae!
- ESA webcast of the landing
- Livestream (starts Tuesday)
- NASA-TV (Live commentary 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Eastern on Wednesday, then switchover to ESA coverage for the crucial time, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Eastern.)