Science News

European Space Agency shuts off comet lander Philae

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The European Space Agency on Wednesday shut off the communication link with Philae, the first man-made object to land on a comet.

Philae landed on Comet 67P on Nov. 12, 2014 and made seven intermittent contacts with its sister craft Rosetta, which is orbiting the comet, sending some photos, but it was unable to send enough data for scientific observations.

Its last transmission was July 2015. The communication link was kept on in case Philae sent another signal. The Rosetta mission will officially end Sept. 30.

“He didn’t just land on a comet, he also told the world about it as he did it – another first! He reported the landing, step by step, in real time, making everyone a part of his mission. His landing tweet “Touchdown! My new address: 67P” was retweeted more than 36,000 times, and he has 448,000 followers on Twitter,” blogged ESA spokesman Fabian Walker.

On Wednesday, Philae “tweeted” that “It’s time for me to say goodbye.”

#GoodbyePhilae: Communication unit switched off… A last #VideoUpdate from #Philae s Control Center at DLR

— DLR – English (@DLR_en) July 27, 2016