Catastrophic Failure Of Solar Power

After an improbable 10-year, 310-million-mile journey to become the first ever space vehicle to make a soft landing on a comet, the Philae probe may have ended its mission prematurely.

Its batteries have run down, said the European Space Agency.

“Philae has fallen into ‘idle mode’ for a potentially long silence. In this mode, all instruments and most systems on board are shut down,” ESA said.

This might not change.

Philae was supposed to transmit data from Comet 67/P for nine months as it passed the sun, running on solar power, but it did not get its place in the sunlight that scientists had hoped for.

On Comet 67P, Philae conks out, as battery dies –

Ten years and billions of dollars later, they learn that solar energy doesn’t work when the sun isn’t shining. These rocket scientists are real geniuses.


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37 Responses to Catastrophic Failure Of Solar Power

  1. Crashex says:

    Ugh…If they had only remembered to put a wind turbine on Philae this could have been avoided!!

  2. omanuel says:

    Solar power is in fact the power that created and sustains every atom, life and world in the solar system today – a volume of space greater than the combined volumes of ten billion, billion Earth’s.

    An unreported 1945 decision to forbid public knowledge of solar power (the power that also destroyed Hiroshima) is the main problem facing society today.

    Jon Rappoport offers advice for exiting this current matrix of social insanity:

    I recommend the practical advice Bill Wilson offered in 1939 for individuals seeking to exit the matrix of insanity.

  3. jeremyp99 says:

    Um. The problem is where it landed, which meant it gets no sun. Had it landed where intended, it would have been fine. Not sure it’s fair to blame this on the failure of solar panels, which I suspect are used all the time on space vehicles. Indeed, it seems to me a good application of solar.

    • The point here is that this would have been a non-issue had the craft been equipped with an RTG (radioisotope thermal generator) such as some missions to Mars and just about every mission to outer planets carries. This makes them independent of solar.

      But RTGs scare the greenies, and they protest and wail until NASA decides to use solar whenever it thinks it can get away with it — and thus risk mission failures, as here.

      ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

      • Billy Liar says:

        AFAIK RTG’s have only ever been deployed by the US and Russia. The European Space Agency does not have that technology.

      • Anthony S says:

        To be fair, the mission spends most of its time in the inner solar system, where solar power should be adequate, unlike probes to the outer solar system and beyond where the solar constant will be much weaker.

        Not to mention I’m not sure if there’s any plutonium left to use for RTGs because reprocessing spent fuel is also something that scares the greenies.

      • David A says:

        Keith the greens are scared of RTGs in space?

      • Sandmich says:

        A BIG problem that I’ve read in regards to that is that there is a severe shortage of the isotope of plutonium used to build RTGs.

    • Phil Jones says:

      Sure… Well… But indeed Mr Goddard points out a great Irony…

      This craft isn’t working due to the failure of solar… Despite tens of billions spent…

  4. jeremyp99 says:

    Looks like they’re back on again

    “New hope for Rosetta mission after scientists reconnect with probe

    A report on the Philae spacecraft’s verified Twitter feed suggests the probe has successfully “hopped” into a new position which may enable its solar panels to work”

    • Anthony S says:

      Guess its a good thing the harpoons didn’t deploy properly then.

    • James the Elder says:

      What’s gonna happen when the comet nears the sun and all that ice and dirt begin to blast those solar panels? I think they better get all the info they want rather quickly. Or is the comet outbound?

      • Send Al to the Pole says:

        The tail points away from the sun at all times…. so if they were able to land on a sun facing side they might get light if they’re still inbound, and less debris.

  5. gregole says:

    Nuclear batteries are pretty much standard operating procedure for deep-space missions.

    I did a reblog of a good conversation at this posting.

    Their solar-panel/battery choice for the Philae lander was a bad idea – not fault tolerant. I do however hope they get something working on the lander as it would be a terrible lost opportunity to lose the lander after achieving so much.

    The main orbiting craft, Rosetta is doing fine, and it has eleven instruments on board so the mission will continue with or without the lander.

  6. SMS says:

    So what are the European people getting for their billions of dollars in investment? Will knowing the exact makeup of this particular comet lead to scientific discoveries that will enrich our lives? Or does it just enrich the prestige of the scientists? They could have spent money inventing a battery that wouldn’t need solar cells. One that is cheap, can hold a massive charge, is quick to charge and is the size of a bread box. With this one invention, the internal combustion engine would be history.

  7. northernont says:

    You would think someone would have suggested a detachable solar panel on a tether that could be floated above lander as a contingency plan.

  8. Martin says:

    This failure wasn’t as catastrophic as the one that occurred today when solar panels on a supermarket roof caught fire

  9. Dan_Kurt says:

    The reporters keep talking about Snow and Ice but the pictures of the comet look like it is a dry rock with small rocks on the surface. What is going on here? Is it frozen water or a rock? Where is the tail?
    Dan Kurt

      • gregole says:


        Very interesting.

        I had been discounting the electric universe people…hmm; they seem to be making some good predictions about this comet. What happened to the dirty snowball comets are supposed to be made from? Looks a lot like just rocks to me. I don’t see any snow and ice. And those chemical discharges detected late in October. They are too far from the sun for that to be happening from solar heating.

        A lot of settled comet science is being challenged.

        Very interesting.

    • oeman50 says:

      What does a dirty clump of ice look like? A rock.

      • Dan_Kurt says:

        Wrong Question and Answer.

        Better question is: will this probe be able to actually answer as to what it is made of? Given its unreliable power source, it does not look hopeful.

        Dan Kurt

  10. Tel says:

    Say what you like about NASA, but it’s just amazing how often those Europeans can make NASA look good.

    Remember “Beagle 2” the Mars crash-lander?

    The Arian 5 rocket?

    That Galileo system to compete with GPS, after 15 years of scratching their backsides, they finally launched a couple of satellites into the wrong orbit.

  11. thejollygreenman says:

    So, it is bear, crawled into the nearest cave and fell asleep. Wait till summer comes.

  12. Jim Jensen says:

    I think they did a great job. Steven would have done much better. Steven would like to be King Steven. He can do anything. All hail to King Steven !

  13. kuhnkat says:

    Saying the lander “landed” is an exaggeration. It crash landed. The bureaucrats committee decided that they would use harpoons because they KNEW the comet was a loose aggregate with probable volatiles frozen and stabilizing it. They decided to use a thruster to counteract the launching and penetration of those harpoons. They had a sensor error on the thruster and, due to their KNOWLEDGE I guess, decided to chance the landing anyway as it MIGHT be a bad sensor and not a failed thruster. The lander hit, bounced over 100 meters while they were announcing their glorious successful landing, hit with a second small bounce, and came to rest in an unknown orientation with only 2 feet touching and rock against one side of the lander. On its side?? Against a cliff?? Haven’t read where they released that secret info yet!! They did apparently manage to rotate it slightly in hopes of exposing more solar panel. They also drilled about 10 inches just before the lander went into low power sleep mode. Still hopes it will gain enough charge to wake up and transmit the drill data. By the way, they also announced that the harpoons were launched and retracted and that the harpoons did NOT launch. They also announced that the lander hit VERY softly. CYA anyone?!?!

    My interpretation is that the harpoons launched and, hitting rock, launched the lander!! Without the thruster there was not enough forward momentum to prevent it.

    I agree it was pretty short sighted for them to have the solar array as the only system for power. Again, their leftard BIAS showing. More of that communal group think.

  14. Why is the comet not rotating? Is it in tidal lock with the sun?

  15. edonthewayup says:

    Reblogged this on Edonurwayup's Blog and commented:
    They put it where there is no sunshine.

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