Thought for the Week

Engaging and encouraging debate, discussion and discourse

Patience, Perseverance and Philae

Philae is a robotic lander that accompanied the Rosetta spacecraft until it landed on a comet, more than ten years after departing Earth.On 12 November 2014, the probe achieved the first-ever soft landing on a comet nucleus. Its instruments obtained the first images from a comet's surface. Philae made the first direct analysis of a comet, sending back data that will be analysed to determine the composition of the surface.

On 15 November 2014, Philae entered safe mode or 'hibernation' due to reduced sunlight and Mission controllers could do nothing other than wait and see if additional sunlight might be reach Philae's solar panels.