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NASA Makes Last Attempt to Recover Philae from Comet 67P

Philae, as it should have landed

(Mirror Daily, United States) – We were all so excited last year when NASA landed Philae on the Comet 67P, but we weren’t really dismayed when we found out that it probably couldn’t be recovered. As the giant floating dust covered snowball is drifting away, NASA makes last attempt to recover Philae from Comet 67P.

Sometime last year, the appropriately named Rosetta spacecraft dropped off the also appropriately named Philae drone on the passing 67P comet.

The idea behind the mission was to collect some never before seen data from the comet as it passed by, followed by Philae’s relatively prompt return to Earth.

The names were given because it was expected that the collected data will provide some extraordinary insight into other comets of 67P’s type.

However, the mission showed bad signs from the get go, as the Rosetta spacecraft, after 10 years in orbit preparing for this mission, came in for too abrupt of a landing, causing the Philae probe to bounce repeatedly off the comet’s surface, and even to land in the wrong spot, blocking it from the sun and thus from its only source of power.

Despite its rough landing and subsequent lack of a way to power up, the Philae probe managed to recover partially, being able to send some very important data back to Earth.

Now, despite previous attempts failing, NASA is trying for one last time to awaken the Philae, so that it can fly off and go rejoin Rosetta for its final ride home.

However, due to the fact that the comet is on its way out of our solar system, the Agency holds very slim hopes that it will work. Although the attempt will be performed sometime this month, it might already be too late for the extremely helpful probe, as it will probably remain on the 67P comet until one of them gets destroyed.

With all the things that went bad for the mission, the Philae did manage to send back some extremely important information.

The probe provided the scientists with unique information about a comet, information that wouldn’t have been accessible otherwise. The scientists working on the project claim that future missions will be forever changed due to the information they got from the comet.

Sixteen organic molecules never before seen on a comet were found on 67P by Philae, among which were acetamide, acetone, methyl isocyanate, and propionaldehyde.

One of the scientists involved also claimed that the findings on the comet will greatly impact studies on the origin of life.

Image source: Wikimedia

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