Post link 15 November 2014, 13:10
Oliver Wheaton - for Saturday 15 Nov 2014 9:42 am

European Space Agency lose contact with Philae after the probe’s batteries die
End of the mission? Philae falls silent after batteries die;h=563

Farewell, brave traveller (Picture: ESA/PA)

The Philae landing craft has reportedly fallen silent after it’s batteries depleted, scientists at the Rosetta project have revealed.

The probe, which recently made history by becoming the first human-made object to land on a comet, runs on solar powered batteries, however it has been out of the sun for too long, forcing it to go on a ‘possibly long silence’.

Last contact with the probe was shortly after midnight last night.

The European Space Agency say they will not be able to re-establish contact with the probe ‘unless sufficient sunlight falls on the solar panels to generate enough power to wake it up’.

Stephan Ulamec from the European Space Operations Centre said despite the loss, the probe performed far better than expected and provided researchers with a wealth of information.

‘This machine performed magnificently under tough conditions, and we can be fully proud of the incredible scientific success Philae has delivered,’ he added.

A probe named Philae is seen after it landed safely on a comet, known as 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, in this CIVA handout image released November 13, 2014. The European probe that landed on the comet in a first for space exploration is safely anchored on the surface despite technical problems, pictures beamed half a billion kilometres (300 million miles) back to Earth showed on Thursday. The lander, named Philae, was launched from its mothership Rosetta on Wednesday as it orbited comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the climax of a 10-year-odyssey for the European Space Agency;h=562

This image if the first ever photograph taken from the surface of a comet (Picture: REUTERS/ESA/Rosetta/Philae)

If the ESA are unable to get Philae back online, they will continue their contact with its mothership Rosetta, which will track Comet 67P/C-G as it moves towards the sun, meaning the £1.03 billion project will still be in operation.

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The unfortunate news comes just two days after Philae transmitted its first images back to earth, showing one of it’s spidery legs planted firmly on the comet’s surface.

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