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Rosetta spacecraft has stopped listening for Philae lander

illustration of Rosetta and Philae approaching comet 67/P

GOODBYE, PHILAE The European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft (illustrated, upper left) will no longer listen for signals from the Philae lander, which has been silent since July 2015. 

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It’s time for a final farewell to the comet lander Philae.

The European Space Agency announced that on July 27 it would shut off the equipment that the Rosetta spacecraft uses to listen in on communications from Philae. The lander, which touched down on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in November 2014, briefly transmitted data before entering a deep slumber.

Except for a brief awakening in June and July 2015, Philae has been silent ever since. Now, as the solar-powered Rosetta gets farther from the sun, scientists need to conserve power by shutting off nonessential equipment. So Rosetta will listen no more.

Rosetta will continue scientific operations around comet 67P for another two months before completing its mission, when it will join Philae, descending down onto the comet.

Animals,, Conservation

Neonicotinoids are partial contraceptives for male honeybees

By Susan Milius 7:08pm, July 26, 2016
Male honeybees produce less living sperm if raised on pollen tainted with neonicotinoids, tests show.

Science News reporters answer your questions about aging

By Science News Staff 12:36pm, July 26, 2016
Three Science News reporters will answer questions related to a special issue on aging in a Reddit AMA on Tuesday, July 26, at 3 p.m. EDT.
Animals,, Health,, Science & Society

Getting rid of snails is effective at stopping snail fever

By Amy McDermott 2:00pm, July 21, 2016
For the tropical disease snail fever, managing host populations is more effective than drugs.
Particle Physics,, Cosmology,, Physics

Latest search for dark matter comes up empty

By Emily Conover 4:30am, July 21, 2016
Scientists continue to come up empty-handed in the search for dark matter. The latest effort from the LUX experiment found no evidence for dark matter.
Animals,, Ecology

Some primates prefer nectar with a bigger alcohol kick

By Helen Thompson 2:00pm, July 20, 2016
Aye-ayes and slow lorises may be able to discern the alcohol content of boozy nectar and go for more potent drinks.
Planetary Science

40 years ago, Viking 1 pioneered U.S. exploration on Mars

By Christopher Crockett 7:00am, July 20, 2016
Forty years ago, Viking 1 became the first U.S. mission to land safely on the surface of Mars.
Cancer,, Health

IVF doesn’t up long-term breast cancer risk, study says

By Helen Thompson 11:38am, July 19, 2016
A Dutch study of more than 25,000 women over two decades suggests that IVF-treated women are no more likely to get breast cancer than other women.
Health

First case of woman-to-man spread of Zika via sex reported

By Meghan Rosen 11:33am, July 15, 2016
The first known case of female-to-male sexual transmission of Zika virus has been reported in New York City.
Health

Risk of travelers to Olympics sparking new Zika outbreaks low

By Meghan Rosen 12:26pm, July 13, 2016
Just four countries — Chad, Djibouti, Eritrea and Yemen — bear a substantial risk of bringing Zika virus home from the Olympics and having it spread, the CDC says.
Animals,, Evolution

How snails breathe through snorkels on land

By Susan Milius 7:05pm, July 12, 2016
Shells with a tube counterintuitively sealed at the end have hidden ways to let Asian snails snorkel while sealed in their shells.
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