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.
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.