SPACECRAFT Lands on COMET UPDATE: IN CLIFF’S SHADOW, MAY RUN OUT OF POWER
The European Space Agency successfully landed a probe on a comet Wednesday (November 11th) to the joy of many worldwide.
There was a bit of a letdown yesterday (November 12th) when scientists said that the two bounces the lander Philae made because the harpoons that were supposed to anchor it didn’t deploy caused it to come to rest in the shadow of a cliff. Because of that, sunlight isn’t reaching its solar panels, and Philae could end up running out of power much sooner than anticipated.
For now, Philae is working and is gathering data to send back to Earth… and scientists are deciding whether to try to move it so sunlight can reach it. If they don’t, its battery will be exhausted in the next day or two.
The scientists stressed, however, that even if the lander can’t be moved and runs out of power very soon, the data they’ll be able to collect until then will have made the landing worthwhile.