Where is the probe "Philae" and when it wakes up - VIDEO PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 07 February 2015 12:15

Data obtained tool CONSERT, will narrow the area of possible location of the probe to the band size 350h30 meters, located on a small "half" of the nucleus of the comet.

November 12, 2014 lander Philae («Fila") separated from the spacecraft "Rosetta" and made an unplanned landing on the surface of the nucleus of comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. According to recent data, it thrice in contact with the surface and then bounced before reached the final landing point. Since then, the mission statements do not lose hope to find "Fila" in the pictures the comet's nucleus and to find out where it still brought it fate. While these attempts were not successful - the exact location of the probe is still not known.

"Fila" worked on the surface of the comet nucleus 57 hours - until the batteries are exhausted. Among other scientific observations, he conducted an experiment on radio core with a tool CONSERT. Data obtained CONSERT, will narrow the area of possible location of the probe to the band size 350h30 meters, located on a small "half" of the nucleus of the comet (the so-called "head").

On February 14, 2015 is scheduled close (at a distance of 6 km from the surface) span "Rosetta" by the comet's nucleus. However, the point of closest approach will be far from the alleged resting place "Fila" - the orbiter passes over lower part of a larger "half" of the comet's nucleus, also called the "body". Flight trajectory is calculated so that the Sun is directly behind the "Rosetta", it will take pictures of the surface without shadows, obtain spectra of nuclei with unprecedented resolution, as well as directly to explore the innermost region of the coma of the comet.

"The schedule of scientific observations" Rosetta "is made in advance for a few months - said the coordinator of the mission" Rosetta "Matt Taylor (Matt Taylor). - So special campaign to find "Fila" in terms of close-flight on February 14 was not hit. We will not change the trajectory of the "Rosetta" so that it is specially flew over the expected landing area "Fila", but we can get more pictures of the area, if the schedule of scientific observations will allow us to do it. "

"After a close flyby of the nucleus" Rosetta "again will take away from him, so that we have a long time will not be able to do a special search lander, perhaps - until early next year - said the head of the mission" Rosetta "by Fred Jansen, ESA (Fred Jansen). - However, the location "Fila" does not affect our ability to manage it, and he does not have to wake up so we can find it. "

"Fila" over the edge of a large recess on the "head" of the comet, known Hatmehit (Hatmehit). The image was obtained by OSIRIS narrow-angle camera 12 November 2014 at 17.19 GMT on the ship's time, ie, after the first bounce. The picture is possible to reconstruct the trajectory of the lander and sharply narrow down his search.

However, whether the "Fila" wake up again, and if so, when can this happen?

As originally planned landing site (in Agilika - where the probe hit the surface for the first time), he had covered the Sun ~ 6.5 hours for a 12.4-hour comet "days." At the same time, by March 2015 there has become too hot for continued research. In the same place where the "Fila" was a result of his jumps, he covered the Sun just 1.3 hours.

The Sun will rise to the zenith over the landing site "Fila" in May 2015. However, the orientation of the probe is such that he can not make optimal use of the incident solar radiation on him. If "Fila" in general has experienced low temperatures at the landing site, it will load the on-board computer somewhere in the end of March, but by May or even June, he will be able to include its transmitter and reconnect with "Rosetta" - it requires about 17 watts, to wake up and say "hello." More time is required to fully charge the batteries and get to work. In addition, we must not forget that the orbiter must also be ready to receive the signal from the "Fila" and be in the appropriate place - even if it is removed from the 200 km from the nucleus.



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