Phil's space probe is awake!

Phil's space probe is awake!

Phil's space probe woke up after nearly seven months of hibernation, as the comet approached the Sun on which it had once landed, the European Space Agency said on Sunday.

The tiny probe robot is perhaps ready for the resumption of scientific work and will add a new chapter to its fantastic journey, officials say excited.

"Hello Earth! How do you hear me?", - said the landing module, about the size of a washing machine, so figuratively describe the call from Phil scientists.

“We received a two-minute message at 22:28 Central European Time (20:28 GMT) on Saturday,” said mission head Patrick Martin in Madrid.

"This was enough to confirm that Fillet was in order and his subsystems had enough energy to contact Rosetta," he said of the landing module wandering in comet 67P / Churyumov-Gerasimenko orbit. Our task is to learn more about comets - primary clusters of ice and dust, as scientists believe, can show how the Solar System was formed.

The 100-pound probe landed on the "67P" on November 12 after a 10-year dock with the Rosetta.

But instead of turning around on the surface of a dusty ice ball, Fillet bounced off it several times before being stuck in the dark of the interior of the comet. The probe had enough battery power for about 60 hours of experiments, which allowed it to send some data before shutting down on November 15.

When the "67P" approached the Sun, scientists began to hope that the sunlight would recharge the Fillet batteries enough for it to reboot and make contact for a new series of experiments.

After two unsuccessful attempts to establish contact in March and April, a new test was conducted in May.

“We were surprised, because we didn’t expect a response from him this night and this coming weekend - it was interesting,” said Martin.

In a statement, ESA said that Phil "talked" with his team for about 85 seconds, but a preliminary analysis of the data showed that he should have been "awake" earlier, but could not make contact.

According to Martin, the temperature of the device was about minus 36 degrees Celsius (-29 Fahrenheit) and its energy was 24 watts higher than it needs at minus 45 degrees Celsius 19 W, already enough for work.

“Phil is fine,” said Stefan Ulamek, project manager for Phil at the German space agency DLR. "The descent vehicle is ready for operation."

Martin was more cautious, saying: "We have established a connection, and we hope to see a repetition of this successful communication." "If we get a stable contact for at least a week or so, then we can think of the descent vehicle as a working tool."

Rosetta was told on Twitter: "Incredible news! The fillet module is awake," and also, "he is fit, healthy and warm enough."

This caused a comic reaction on behalf of Phil: "I'm fine ... I'm a little tired ... and I will talk to you later!"

NASA tweeted "Wake up and sing!", While the usually-royal Royal Observatory in the UK screamed, "YES !!!"

By August 13, the comet will reach the nearest point to the Sun or perihelion, in order to turn back into the depths of space.

More than 8,000 data packets need to be received from the Fillet storage device in order to analyze them, ESA says.

Opera operators are hoping that the new data will allow them to determine the exact location of the probe on the comet, which is currently narrowed to a range of 100 to 200 meters (328-656 feet).

Comments (0)