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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.

Planetary Science

New dwarf planet discovered lurking beyond Neptune

By Christopher Crockett 5:30pm, July 12, 2016
Newly discovered dwarf planet 2015 RR245 takes about 700 years to orbit the sun and lives among the icy boulders of the Kuiper belt.

How one patient spread MERS to 82 people

By Tina Hesman Saey 6:30pm, July 8, 2016
One person passed the Middle East respiratory syndrome virus to 82 others during an outbreak in South Korea in 2015.
Planetary Science

The Juno spacecraft is now in orbit around Jupiter

By Christopher Crockett 11:58pm, July 4, 2016
NASA’s Juno spacecraft successfully entered orbit around Jupiter, beginning a 20-month investigation of the giant planet’s interior.
Planetary Science

Juno spacecraft is on its final approach to Jupiter

By Christopher Crockett 3:42pm, June 30, 2016
Everything looks good for the Juno spacecraft, which arrives at Jupiter on July 4.
Astronomy,, Planetary Science

Asteroid Day is a chance to learn about space and plan for disaster

By Christopher Crockett 1:30pm, June 29, 2016
Asteroid Day on June 30 tries to raise awareness about the hazards of an asteroid impact and what we could do to stop it.
Health,, Microbiology

This week in Zika: vaccine progress, infection insights

By Meghan Rosen 4:31pm, June 28, 2016
Vaccine candidates for Zika virus take a step forward, birth defects span spectrum of problems and doubts about Zika’s link to microcephaly may be extinguished by new reports from Colombia.
Planetary Science

Jupiter shows off its infrared colors

By Christopher Crockett 5:30am, June 28, 2016
Jupiter glows with infrared light in new images taken in preparation for the July 4 arrival of the Juno spacecraft.
Animals,, Paleontology

Insect debris fashion goes back to the Cretaceous

By Helen Thompson 2:00pm, June 24, 2016
Ancient insects covered themselves in dirt and vegetation just as modern ones do, fossils preserved in amber suggest.
Animals,, Neuroscience

Baby birds’ brains selectively respond to dads’ songs

By Helen Thompson 6:00am, June 22, 2016
The neurons of young male birds are more active when listening to songs sung by dad than by strangers, a new study finds.

Tests turn up dicey bagged ice

By Laura Beil 5:56pm, June 17, 2016
Tests of bagged ice found that 19 percent exceeded recommended thresholds for bacterial contamination.
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