The Philae lander has given scientists a few hints about comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko before going to sleep. Data from one of the lander’s instruments suggests that the comet has a hard icy layer sitting beneath 10 to 20 centimeters of dust. The find surprised scientists who were anticipating the instrument’s hammer would pound into a layer of material that was a bit softer. There are also reports that another of Philae’s instruments detected carbon-containing organic molecules.
Cameras aboard the Rosetta orbiter also spotted Philae as it drifted across the comet’s surface and captured glimpses of the lander and its shadow during the probe’s first touchdown.
Mission scientists continue to analyze the data that Philae collected in its brief 64 hours of activity on comet 67P.