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Nov 13 2014

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Philae sends pictures back from comet surface

I waited all day yesterday for this! Here’s the picture:

Philae on comet

That’s one of its landing feet in the foreground.

There was a bit of drama at touchdown, as the harpoons to hold it in place didn’t fire. The lander bounced twice. The first time was at 7:34 am (Pacific time), then it bounced and rotated once landing again at 9:25 am (showing how low the gravity is on the comet), bouncing again and finally settling to the ground at 9:32 am.

Yikes!!

However:

  • he firing of the harpoons did not occur.
  • The primary battery is working properly.
  • The mass memory is working fine (all data acquired until lander loss of signal at 17:59 UTC were transmitted to the orbiter).
  • Systems on board the lander recorded a rotation of the lander after the first touchdown. This is confirmed by ROMAP instrument data, which recorded a rotation around the Z-axis (vertical).

The lander did receive some power from the solar panels on Wall No. 2, but it appears that parts of the lander were in shadow during the time that last night’s surface telemetry were being transmitted.

Teams are still working to confirm the location and the overall power and thermal situation on board. Nonetheless, the lander appears to be performing well.

Knowing all that and looking at the picture again, it looks like to me that Philae is laying on it’s side — that landing foot in the foreground looks like it’s sticking in the air. It could be that it landed on uneven ground though…

Stay tuned!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2014/11/13/philae-sends-pictures-back-from-comet-surface/

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