Philae finally found by Rosetta !

It is unbelievable, that Philae lander, lost in the end of 2014, was finally found on the surface of the Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko just weeks before end of mission of its mother spacecraft, Rosetta.

European Space Agency managed to find Philae lander before planned for 30th September controlled crash of Rosetta on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. Images of 67P rocky surface with Philae hidden under the stone and remaining in the shadow were taken and downlinked to the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt on September 2, 2016. Still images were taken by OSIRIS instrument. This is Optical, Spectroscopic, and Infrared Remote Imaging System is one of the main onboard instruments of the Rosetta orbiter - it is dual camera (it is equipped with narrow angle lens and second with typical wide angle optics) imaging device operating in the visible light, near infrared and ultraviolet. Both cameras are equipped with filters changed mechanically if necessary and are controlled by same computer. Picture taken from altitude of 2.7 km with OSIRIS showed what the main problem was during resuming communication with lander and confirmed reasons of premature discharge of onboard battery of Philae. To remind, landing was performed after deploying Philae from Rosetta, on altitude of 29 km over 67P on November 12, 2014. Lander reached surface in place called Agilkia, but it bounced and after two hours finally landed in place named Abydos. Unfortunately small Philae (with weight at 100 kg and dimensions of 1 m x 1 m x 0.8 m) positioned itself under large rock with two legs attached to the ground. Lander is lying on one of the sides. This caused that RF antenna was pointed towards the ground what was reason for problems with communication between Rosetta and Philae.

It seems that ESA is ready for last phase of Rosetta/Philae mission. Pictures of Philae are giving priceless details about mission and are explaining whole problems with Philae after reaching Comet 67P. This information will surely serve in future missions and will help in avoiding such problems during missions with utilization of landers targeting into celestial bodies with rocky, uneven surface.

On picture above: Philae on its way to Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko after being deployed by Rosetta on on November 12, 2014.