Shed A Little Light On Philae.

Alas, Philae may be dead.

The bouncing during landing put the probe into an area that was darker than was expected and the lander only had enough power for two days.  The probe stopped working at 7:36pm Eastern Time, right about the time it going to lose touch with Earth anyway.

Although the published pictures seem to show a lot of light on the comet’s surface, the image above is closer to the actual conditions on the comet.  It is a cold, dark, distant place.

Philae dies

But it was a good two days.  The probe worked around to clock to gather all the information possible and transmit it back to Rosetta and then to Earth while it batteries slowly drained.  While technically, Philae has gone into sleep mode, unless the position of the comet changes as it approaches the Sun, the lander will not get enough sunlight to recharge it’s batteries.

All hope is not lost, and Rosetta is still gathering data, but it must have been sad to watch the slow decay of 10 years of work right before your eyes.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +, or by email.

Norman

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