Rosetta to Contact Philae Lander on Thursday

Rosetta to Contact Philae Lander on Thursday

Rosetta probe will make attempts to establish a contact with the Philae lander on Thursday, said the European Space Agency (ESA). The ESA launched the spacecraft in 2004 to gain insight into Comet 67P/Churyumov- Gerasimenko.

Philae was carried by Rosetta onboard to put it safely on the surface of the comet. Rosetta entered the orbit of the comet last year and sometime later dropped Philae on the comet's surface, but the lander's harpoons failed to work as intended. It was really unfortunate that the lander bounced and landed at the spot that was deprived of sunlight.

As a result, solar panels of Philae could not provide enough power to the lander to smoothly perform all operations, forcing ESA officials to put it into sleep mode.

The ESA was hoping that the Comet 67P would eventually rotate enough to enable the lander get access to sunlight, so as to get charged and reactivated.

In a new post, the ESA has revealed that more than 5.5 watts of power and internal temperature more than -45°C are more than enough for Philae to turn on, heat up further and start charging its battery.

The agency now wants to ask Philae about its condition, given its is currently receiving about twice as much solar energy as it did in November last year, said lander project manager Stephan Ulamec from the German Aerospace Center. "It will probably still be too cold for the lander to wake up, but it is worth trying. The prospects will improve with each passing day", said Ulamec.

The distance between the comet, Rosetta and Philae from the Sun is 320 kilometers. As soon as Philae gets activated, it will switch on its receiver every 30 minutes and start capturing a signal from the Rosetta orbiter.