Space probe Philae located on comet

Images taken from the Rosetta spacecraft showing Philae wedged into a dark crack on the comet, with one of its three legs thrust into the air. The solar-powered space probe was stuck in a spot shadowed from the Sun's rays.
Images taken from the Rosetta spacecraft showing Philae wedged into a dark crack on the comet, with one of its three legs thrust into the air. The solar-powered space probe was stuck in a spot shadowed from the Sun's rays.PHOTO: REUTERS

FRANKFURT • High-resolution cameras on the European Space Agency's (ESA) Rosetta spacecraft have found space probe Philae, which landed on a comet nearly two years ago only to lose power because its solar-driven batteries were in the shade.

Images taken from the Rosetta showed Philae wedged into a dark crack on Comet 67P/Churyumov- Gerasimenko, the agency said on Monday. ESA released a photo of the washing machine-sized robot lab on the comet's rough surface, with one of its three legs thrust dramatically into the air.

The photo was taken at a distance of 2.7km from the surface of the comet, which is now speeding away from the Sun at nearly 15km per second.

Philae landed on the comet in November 2014 in what was considered a remarkable feat of precision space travel.

However, the 100kg probe bounced several times before getting stuck against a cliff wall that was shadowed from the Sun's battery-replenishing rays.

In June last year, as the comet was drawing closer to the Sun, some 30,000 people retweeted Philae's unexpected reawakening: "Hello Earth! Can you hear me?" After eight intermittent communications with ground control, Philae fell forever silent in July last year.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 07, 2016, with the headline 'Space probe Philae located on comet'. Print Edition | Subscribe