Sunday, June 14, 2015

I Got Better!

In a truly bummer event, NASA's Philae lander popped down onto a comet after journeying millions of miles through space, only to wind up in the shade. And when you're solar powered, that's not good. The mission had only 60 hours of observations before the probe's batteries went dead.

But scientists hoped that as Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko approached the sun, Philae might find itself with enough light to wake up and do some more experimentin', and such proved to be the case. Whether because there's just more light as the comet nears the sun, or its axial tilt moved the area where the lander is into the light or the comet's gradual erosion by the nearing sun's heat shaved enough off the ridge to let the light in isn't really known.

What is known is that Philae isn't dead yet, it got better and it'll get to do some of its cool science in exploring a comet more thoroughly than we ever have before. Now that's an excellent wake-up call.

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