Spaceflight Insider

News Archive / Tagged: Philae

  • Rosetta mission ends with spacecraft’s descent onto comet

    Laurel KornfeldSeptember 30th, 2016

    The European Space Agency (ESA) ended its Rosetta mission at 7:19 a.m. EDT (11:19 GMT) Sept. 30 with a controlled touchdown of the spacecraft onto the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.

  • Philae lander found wedged in ‘dark crack’ on comet 67P

    Derek RichardsonSeptember 5th, 2016

    After months of poring over images to search for the precise landing location of the lost Philae lander, European Space Agency (ESA) scientists finally located it with the Rosetta orbiter's high-resolution camera. The tiny spacecraft was seen to be wedged in a "dark crack" on the smaller lobe of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

  • The little lander that could: the legacy of Philae

    Tomasz NowakowskiApril 18th, 2016

    Philae, the little lander that was declared lost by the European Space Agency (ESA) earlier this year, has achieved a great deal despite its relatively short operational life on the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Future comet-landing missions will likely build upon the legacy that this small wayward probe has left behind.

  • Philae, we hardly knew ye

    Joe LatrellFebruary 14th, 2016

    The European Space Agency (ESA) has suspended further attempts to contact Philae, the small comet lander currently sitting on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko (67P). The lander has not been heard from since July of 2015, and that signal was intermittent at best.

  • Is there life on Rosetta’s comet? New claims spark controversy

    Tomasz NowakowskiJuly 8th, 2015

    Two British scientists made the headlines on Monday, July 6, by making the extraordinary claim that Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko hosts microbial alien life, which immediately sparked a wave of skepticism. The University of Buckingham’s Chandra Wickramasinghe and his colleague, Max Wallis of the University of Cardiff, presented their findings at the National Astronomy Meeting 2015, which is taking […]

  • Rosetta detects exposed water ice on comet’s surface

    Jim SharkeyJune 27th, 2015

    Scientists using the high-resolution science camera on board the European Space Agency’s (ESA ) Rosetta spacecraft have identified over a hundred patches of water ice a few meters in size on the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerssimenko. A new study which focused on an analysis of the bright patches of exposed ice was recently published in the journal […]

  • Wayward Philae: ESA’s stranded comet lander wakes up from hibernation

    Tomasz NowakowskiJune 14th, 2015

    It had been seven months without any word from the European Space Agency’s Philae lander – until yesterday. ESA scientists, on Saturday, June 13 at 4:28 p.m. EDT (20:28 GMT), received the first signals from the lost spacecraft since it had suddenly went silent three days after touching down on the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on Nov. 12, […]

  • Philae phone home: scientists will try to contact the comet lander on March 12

    Tomasz NowakowskiMarch 11th, 2015

    The European Space Agency (ESA) led Rosetta Mission made history last year by becoming the first spacecraft to orbit a comet and deploy a lander onto its surface. The Philae lander touched down on the comet’s surface on Nov. 19, 2014. The washing-machine sized lander’s anchoring system failed to deploy and the probe bounced across […]

  • Germany wraps up a successful year in space

    Tomasz NowakowskiJanuary 3rd, 2015

    The past year – was a very successful and eventful one for the German Aerospace Center (DLR). Germany was active in the field of human spaceflight as the country’s astronaut, Alexander Gerst, spent six months aboard the International Space Station. DLR also played the lead role in the European Space Agency’s (ESA ) Rosetta mission to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. […]

  • The search for Philae continues

    SpaceFlight InsiderNovember 27th, 2014

    On Nov. 12, the European Space Agency (ESA) led a mission that achieved the first ever soft landing on the surface of a comet. The mission, two decades in the making, showed us just how difficult space exploration can be. After thruster issues and the lander’s harpoons failed to fire, Philae had to rely on […]

  • Philae journeys across a comet, detects organic molecules

    SpaceFlight InsiderNovember 22nd, 2014

    The European Space Agency (ESA ) led a mission that landed on a comet last week. After receiving the initial landing confirmation signal, further analysis showed Philae bounced twice across the surface of Comet 67p/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (comet 67P for short). Philae’s final resting place is not currently known, but after analyzing data from Rosetta’s OSIRIS camera, its […]

  • Rosetta’s Philae: The sound of a touchdown

    SpaceFlight InsiderNovember 21st, 2014

    We are not talking about football here, but rather the sound of everyone’s favorite little robotic probe landing on a comet. The European Space Agency’s (ESA ) plucky little lander, Philae, won the world’s heart last week as it made the first ever landing on the surface of Comet 67P / Churyumov-Gerasimenko (more commonly known as […]

  • Philae’s farewell

    SpaceFlight InsiderNovember 16th, 2014

    Forty-five years ago, people all over the world gathered around their televisions to watch the first lunar landing. This past week, on Nov. 12, people huddled around laptops, sitting on the edge of their seats, watching what would be the first landing on a comet. Following a ten-year journey across the solar system, and against […]

  • OPINION: ESA’s comet landing highlights a public accustomed to less

    Collin SkocikNovember 16th, 2014

    On Nov. 12, 2014, history was made. The Philae lander detached from the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft and landed on Comet 67P, or Churyumov-Gerasimenko. This was the culmination of a space project decades in the making. The Rosetta spacecraft was launched on an Ariane 5 rocket on Mar. 2, 2004, from the Guiana Space […]

  • Despite safe landing, Philae’s future is uncertain

    SpaceFlight InsiderNovember 14th, 2014

    Almost twenty years of hard work and dedication paid off this week for the European Space Agency (ESA ). On Wednesday, Oct. 12, ESA’s comet-chasing spacecraft, Rosetta, deployed a washing machine-sized lander and achieved the first-ever soft touchdown on the surface of a comet. The team in mission control waited on the edge of their seats for […]