Space agency: Lander completed main tasks before going silent - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Space agency: Lander completed main tasks before going silent

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A photo of the comet courtesy of ESA. A photo of the comet courtesy of ESA.
BERLIN -

The European Space Agency says its Philae (FY'-lee) lander has performed a series of scientific tests on the surface of a comet and returned plenty of data before depleted batteries forced it to go silent.

The agency's blog quotes the lander manager as saying "All of our instruments could be operated and now it's time to see what we got."

The blog also says the lander was lifted slightly and rotated about 35 degrees in an effort to pull it out of a shadow so that its solar panels could recharge the batteries. But it's unclear whether it succeeded in getting the solar panels out of the shade.

Even if the lander was rotated successfully and is able to recharge its batteries with sunlight, it may take weeks or months until it will send out new signals. Regular checks for signals will continue.

The lander touched down Wednesday on the comet some 311 million miles away, capping a decade-long, 4 billion-mile journey through space aboard its mother ship, Rosetta.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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