One of the most recent photograph of the Rosetta shows that astronomers never give up. After nearly two years of playing hide and seek in the dark gap on the surface of comet 67P / Churyumov-Gerasimenko, Philae was found. For made on September 2 camera OSIRIS image clearly shows the device inherent under the ice the bend.
to complete the mission has been less than a month, so Cecilia Tubi, who first saw a picture sent by the probe does not hide the joy that “I finally managed to photograph Philae and is so clearly” . She echoed her Laurence O’Rourke Control Center Flight ESA, which is “ worried that after months of work managed to acquire key image of Philae in the region of Abydos” .
the search began at a time when it appeared that all the failed landing systems. Philae landed in the planned location November 12, 2014, then bounced off the comet’s surface and disappeared from sight Rosetta. Although he was able to perform most of the experiments and send the results back to Earth, its exact location was not known. After three days on the surface and on-board battery discharge broke off contact with the device. In December of the same year they made a series of photographs of Osiris from a distance of 20km. A team of astronomers carefully studied the photographs in search of the white spots that size (a few pixels) and shape (roughly triangle) would resemble the lander. In this way, we were able to identify several possible locations Philae.
Narrowing the search was made possible by data from experiments on board Rosetta and Philae. The most important source of information was the radio equipment CONSERT mounted on the probe and lander. The signal that the lander broadcast for several hours after landing, allowed the determination of an area the size of several meters. Nevertheless, the search for the lander was still like looking for a needle in a haystack.
The latest image the lander failed to win, because the activity of the comet expires with distance from the Sun and flight engineers have allowed the mission at a higher close to the surface. The photograph was taken from a distance of 2.7 km has a resolution of a few centimeters per pixel and shows the body of the device and two feet sticking out from under the ice packs. The lander spoke to Rosetta several times in June and July 2015. Each time these contacts, however, were quite short. Now I know exactly what it difficult. Newly found the lander is on the side, in the shadow of a fairly large chunks of ice. And although the body covered with a solar, it does not reach them enough light to power the instruments.
the head of the scientific missions Rosetta, Matt Taylor emphasizes how important it is to find Philae – “ This great news, because I finally managed to locate not only the lander, but also the place where three days performed his measurements. Finally, we have information that suitable testing by Philae proper context “. The Head of Mission from the ESA, Patrick Martin draws attention to the effort of finding the lander, speaking of laborious toil involved in the search for the team and adds a – “ We thought that forever goodbye to Philae. Meanwhile I had found it at the last minute “.
Philae is not the first cosmic castaway, who managed to photograph. In January 2015, after 12 years on the surface of oznaleziono Martian lander Beagle 2, which never failed to make contact. Rosetta Mission had several years of exploration, as has come to an end on September 30 this year. The probe will end the adventure with a comet rather spectacularly, to be broken on the surface 67P performing the way pictures from a distance of tens meters.
Philae found !, The quest to find Philae