Europe’s comet lander Philae has been found. The little robot is visible in new images downloaded from the Rosetta probe in orbit around the icy dirt-ball 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.European Space Agency (Esa) officials say there is no doubt about the identification – “it’s as clear as day”, one told the BBC.
Philae was dropped on to the comet by Rosetta in 2014 but fell silent 60 hours later when its battery ran flat. Although it relayed pictures and data about 67P to Earth, its actually resting place was a mystery.
It was assumed the robot had bounced into a dark ditch on touchdown – an analysis now borne out by the latest pictures, which were acquired from a distance of 2.7km from the icy body.
The images from Rosetta’s high-resolution Osiris camera were downlinked to Earth late on Sunday night, and have only just been processed. The discovery comes just three weeks before controllers plan to crash-land Rosetta itself on to the comet to formally end its mission. Source: BBC News