Sunday, June 14, 2015

It's Alive!

Remember Philae, that robotic probe that the Rosetta mission dropped onto that comet?  It turns out that harpooning comets is tricky as this rather cute xkcd comit sequence explained and Philae bounced a few times after landing and came to rest in a shadowed cleft where it couldn't power itself (pictures of journey and cleft here).  Scientists had hoped that as the comet got closer to the sun the increased light would be enough for Philae to power itself up and resume communications.  Luckily that's exactly what happened.  It looks like Philae is working well enough to give us all the measurements we wanted as it passed near to the sun.

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