Philae lander image raises questions about probe’s health

View brings concerns about where and how Rosetta probe touched down

Philae image from surface of comet 67P

UP CLOSE  Philae’s first image of the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko shows stunning detail of the space rock, but it also raises questions about where and how the probe landed on the comet.

CIVA/PHILAE/ROSETTA/ESA

DARMSTADT, GERMANY — The comet lander Philae is definitely on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The probe actually landed three times with two bounces in between, mission scientists reported early on November 13. The first image from the probe came out a little bit later, and while incredible, immediately raised questions about Philae’s landing site and the probe’s ability to study the new world around it. Concerns about the lander’s solar panels and just how much sunlight they will get, and consequently how much power they can provide the lander, are also being discussed.

More details will be available soon.
 

Ashley Yeager is the associate news editor at Science News. She has worked at The Scientist, the Simons Foundation, Duke University and the W.M. Keck Observatory, and was the web producer for Science News from 2013 to 2015. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a master’s degree in science writing from MIT.

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