211 days after scientists last heard from the Philae lander from the Rosetta spacecraft, a distant ‘voice’ has been heard! After a particularly bumpy landing, Philae came to rest in an area on comet 67P that didn’t receive much sunlight causing the European Space Agency to wonder whether it would ever have enough energy for it’s solar powered batteries to come back to life.
Imagine their surprise when signals were received at ESA’s European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt at 22:28 CEST on 13th June. Philae ‘spoke’, via Rosetta, to the ESA team for 85 seconds. “Philae is doing very well: It has an operating temperature of -35 degrees C and has 24 Watts available,” explains DLR Philae Project Manager Dr. Stephan Ulamec. “The lander is ready for operations.”