This Wednesday, November 12, 7 hours after breaking away from the Rosetta probe, the Philae module successfully landed on the comet 67P-Churyumov-Gerasimenko located 500 million kilometers away from Earth. The landing of the robot has been “gently” according to the the European Space Agency (ESA). “This is a big step for human civilization,” said Jean-Jacques Dordain, Director General of ESA”. “This is an absolutely extraordinary day,” said Jean-Yves Le Gall, Chairman of CNES.
Images of the free fall of Philae acquired by the OSIRIS camera installed on the ROSETTA probe as well as images of the landing site taken by the CIVA and ROLIS cameras which equip the module have reached us progressively … Evidence that the communication means work perfectly. Luckily, the antennas are directed towards the sky indeed, towards Rosetta.
However, uncertainty has long hovered regarding the stowage of Philae – because the module has bounced twice before positioning itself on its current site, the B site, located approximately 1 km away from the preselected J site. From this location, its solar panels carry a 1h30 sunshine every twelve hours, which required to reprogram the instruments. Fortunately, the onboard battery shall be autonomous for two days. Two days during which 70% of scientific mission data will be collected.
Finally, at this stage, eight of the ten onboard instruments are operational.
Relive the landing of Philae on the comet 67 P:
Further Resources :
- CNES Press Releases :
- ESA Press Release : C’est fait ! Le module Philae de Rosetta a atterri !