November 15, 2014

Philae lander, the first probe to successfully land on the surface of a comet, has entered “idle mode” for an uncertain amount of time because of insufficient sunlight, announced the scientists from Rosetta Space Program.ezsfnvimsjpsdka6npjs

Controllers of the lander ordered it to move away from the shadows of the comet and to pivot so that solar panels could recharge depleted batteries.

“We don’t know if the charge will ever be high enough to operate the lander again,” Paolo Ferri, ESA’s head of mission operations, told The Associated Press.

Ferri was also unsure if the probe’s drill even touched the ground during the drilling operation.

Scientists had endured an agonizing wait Friday before the Rosetta orbiter re-established contact with the probe. After finally touching down in the wrong location on Wednesday, there were fears that the lander would run out of battery power before the connection could be made.

“Philae still talking!” declared the agency, in a blog post late on Friday, confirming that Rosetta’s “communication pass” began at 5:29 p.m. ET.

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