O/T Space Science: Rosetta/Philae Planning — And Activities — Accelerate, At ESA

At the outset, lest anyone be confused: Merck once had a subsidiary (long since divested — but originally acquired, circa 2001) called Rosetta, a company that worked in genomics; but this narrative bears no relation to that.

No, this is about “the little comet lander that could.” Or, if you prefer, “the boy of the three year nap.” Okay — Philae was out only six months, but you get the gist of it. Philae is transmitting periodically, and charging at least 135 minutes per 12 hour cycle, on comet. So we should start to see more data arrive, and soon. The graphic at right depicts where, it is thought, Philae now rests — in the shadows, upper right. We soon should have tighter data on that as well. Here is the latest from ESA — and a bit — do go read it all:

. . . .A second, smaller burst of lander data was received on Sunday, 14 June, at about 21:26 GMT, lasting just a few seconds. These data were confirmed to give the current status, showing the lander’s internal temperature had already risen to –5ºC. . . .

The telemetry downloaded [from Philae] covered the lander’s status for a full night–day cycle of the comet, which is helping ground teams to understand how the Sun is shining on the lander. The solar panels appear to be receiving power for over 135 minutes in each illumination period. . . .

The new orbit will be flown by Rosetta starting after 23:25 GMT on 16 June until 19 June, aiming to enable more and longer contacts with Philae, especially towards the end of this period. . . .

We are grinning ear to ear, here. He’s a cool little buddie!

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