Today we are in mourning for the little space probe that could. The Philae lander, part of the pioneering Rosetta mission, is no more.
The Philae lander, which landed on comet 67P in 2014, has lost all contact with The European Space Agency's researchers. With the frigid weather conditions of outer space, Philae began to lose its connection to the researchers. After 60 hours of operation on top of the comet the lander went almost completely radio silent. It effectively went into hibernation and never came back out. Attempts have since been made to get in contact with the lander, but most have been unsuccessful. Now it seems that all hopes of making contact with it have been lost.
Should You Be Sad?
Philae had a tough start in life. It took a number of attempts for the craft to land on the comet. When it finally settled it was in a very awkward place, in the shade. This meant that its solar-powered battery pack couldn't receive any power. The lander was left with a single battery charge to carry out all of its operations. When the power ran out, scientists were not sure whether they would ever hear from the craft again. In January 2016 a last-ditch attempt to contact Philae was made, but it was not successful. The last contact made with the craft was on 9 July 2015. Since then it has moved into an increasingly cold part of its orbit, with temperatures going as low as -180C. Sadly, Philae was never built to work in these temperatures, so its chances of survival are pretty slim.
Start your WhatCulture Crowd subscription
Exclusive New Videos, Documentaries, Browse WhatCulture.com Ad Free, View Articles On A Single Page & Member-only community forum.