Philae, First Robot To Land On Comet, Bids Farewell In Heartwarming Tweets

Philae, First Robot To Land On Comet, Bids Farewell In Heartwarming Tweets
Comet Garradd Meets M71 Ravenshoe Group CC BY 2.0

A robot has reached the end of its life and is bidding farewell through a series of tweets.


Philae, credited for the accomplishment of being the first robot to land on a comet, is looking at the end days of its life. It is bidding a final farewell in a series of tweets through its official Twitter account, Philae Lander.

“Tomorrow, the unit on @ESA_Rosetta for communication with me will be switched off forever…,” Philae tweeted on Tuesday.

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On November 2014, the robot made contact with the 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko after launching from a Rosetta probe, as reported by TIME. With this, it became the first spacecraft to land on a comet. Problems encountered by the robot upon its landing caused it to bounce around on its surface before finally settling a kilometer away from its intended target.

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First discovered in 1969 by Soviet astronomers Klim Ivanovych Churyumov and Svetlana Ivanovna Gerasimenko, the 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko is a Jupiter family comet and is from the Kuiper belt. Its maximum velocity is 84,000 miles per hour and it is 2.7 miles long.

Philae would only receive 1.5 hours of sunlight for every 12-hour rotation. This was not plenty to restore its battery.

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Through its time, Philae provided essential data. It operated for 57 hours on battery power before going into a hibernation mode shortly thereafter; and waking up once for a short time in July last year.

It was announced by team members of the project that the Electrical Support System on Rosetta will be shut off before September 30, the day when the mission was scheduled to officially come to a close, to save energy.

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