Goodbye Philae – Scientists bid lander farewell
The German Aerospace Center made it’s last contact with the lander on July 9, but efforts since then have failed.
“Unfortunately, the probability of Philae re-establishing contact with our team at the DLR Lander Control Center is almost zero, and we will no longer be sending any commands,” Stephan Ulamec, Philae Project Manager of the DLR, said in a statement.
Conditions on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko have become so cold — falling below minus 180 degrees Celsius (minus 292 Fahrenheit) at night — that it has damaged some of Philae’s components. While many of the lander’s parts were designed for this harsh environment, there were certain electronics kept in a “warm box” that have now unquestionably been pushed beyond their “qualified” limits – including the onboard computer and the communications unit.
Among Philae’s discoveries are unexpected organic compounds, themselves precursors to the amino acids required for life, and key differences in the water on the comet and that found on Earth.
Rosetta was a mission of the European Space Agency, with contributions from its member states and NASA.