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ESA: Philae is Radio Silent (Again)

posted: 07/20/15
by: Discovery.com Staff
Philae touchdown
European Space Agency

Mission controllers haven't heard from Philae in nearly two weeks, the European Space Agency announced today.

The last data set that mission control received indicated that sunlight was reaching the lander's solar panels differently, information that the Rosetta team is still trying to "better understand":

"The profile of how strongly the Sun is falling on which panels has changed from June to July, and this does not seem to be explained by the course of the seasons on the comet alone," Philae's project manager, Stephan Ulamec, said in a blog post.

The spacecraft is also plagued by a damaged transmission unit and malfunctioning a receiving unit, although it is equipped with two of each.

All hope for Philae is not lost, however. Engineers are preparing to send commands to the lander that will hopefully allow it to resume normal operation, in spite of its many hiccups.

"Several times we were afraid that the lander would remain off - but it has repeatedly taught us otherwise," Ulamec adds.

Click here for more information from the ESA

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